The ISPO Textrends judges have selected YKK’s DynaPel water-repellent zipper as the Best Product in the accessories category. The competition, held twice a year in conjunction with the ISPO trade show, recognizes the most innovative performance textiles, components, and apparel.
Designed to be compatible with garment recycling systems, the DynaPel zipper uses GTT’s EMPEL technology instead of the standard PU film to achieve its water-repellency. The lack of a PU film helps remove one of the barriers of textile-to-textile recycling of performance apparel by eliminating the urethane material, which presents challenges to garment recycling processes.
“Receiving an ISPO Textrends Award helps validate the technology and our efforts to develop fasteners for circular systems,” said Terry Tsukumo, Vice President, Product Strategy Division, Global Sales Headquarters, YKK Corporation. “By employing EMPEL technology, we can achieve the robust water protection expected from YKK products while eliminating the challenges that PU poses to recycling systems.”
Conventional chemical and mechanical garment recycling systems cannot process the polyurethane film commonly used on water-repellent zippers, necessitating the removal of zippers from garments before recycling. This additional processing step often deters recyclers from accepting garments with PU zippers, resulting in unnecessary waste.
EMPEL technology uses advanced green chemistry devoid of PFAS and a specialized manufacturing process that allows the chemistry to penetrate the yarn and encapsulate it with a water-repellent layer through molecular cross-linking. The molecular cross-linking creates an extremely durable layer that is highly resistant to abrasion and invisible to the eye.
“DynaPel represents a new generation of sustainable, high-performance water-repellant zippers,” stated Tsukumo. “It is the future of water protection for zippers.”
 It is recommended to trial products in your targeted recycling system to fully assess its processability.