Recently there has been a lot of talk about shopping for clothes more sustainably as a measure to prevent the dire consequences of climate change.
While the idea might seem utterly ludicrous and a lost battle, some people, such as Harriet Vocking, Chief Brand Officer at Eco-Age, observe that all fashion-conscious individuals must pay more attention to the outfits they buy, especially swimsuits.
To save the planet, people should opt for sustainable swimsuits instead of regular ones.
There are two main issues with regular swimsuits. For the outfits to give a snug fit that doesn’t sag, they are made from plastic-based synthetic materials such as spandex, nylon, and polyester.
While these fabrics are highly versatile, dry quickly, are cheaper, and stretch along the body movements, ensuring you are comfortable at all times, they are got from oil, which is a rapidly depleting natural resource.
How the swimwear is made isn’t the only problem—how it behaves when you wash it also wreaks havoc.
While synthetic swimwear is affordable, it sheds tiny pieces of plastic when washed. These microfibers end up in landfills or oceans, adding to the over 8 billion tons of plastic already present.
There is no perfect way of controlling plastic. Some countries burn it, which creates carbon emissions. In less developed countries with poor waste management practices, most plastic-based fibers end up in the oceans, where sea animals mistake them for food.
In most cases, these sea animals die from choking on the plastic.
Is skinny-dipping the answer?
To be truly eco-friendly and conserve the environment, you should avoid wearing harmful synthetic swimwear and skinny dip. Unfortunately, you won’t be maintaining your dignity when you do it, will you?
To keep your dignity intact, choose swimwear made from natural fibers such as hemp, linen, or cotton. While these materials are great for the environment, they are often expensive and unsuitable for all water activities.
Although synthetic fibers have plenty of glaring downsides, they have one vital, attractive feature—the manufacturers can reuse them repeatedly, creating a closed loop system that is more sustainable.
A brave new world of recycled plastics
Recent technologies have come up with an array of recycled plastic materials such as ECONYL® and REPREVE® nylons that are ideal for swimwear.
The fabrics made from these materials have the same properties as those made from virgin plastic, which offsets the need for new petroleum, conserves water and energy use, and emits fewer greenhouse gases.
ECONYL® is a regenerated nylon fiber made entirely from waste products, including fabric scraps, fishing nets, nylon waste, and industrial plastic. The material is said to reduce the effects of global warming by up to 90% and, at the same time, helps minimize waste that might end up in a landfill or ocean.
REPREVE® is used to manufacture 100% recycled polyester material that is chlorine resistant and provides UPF 50 sun protection.
Buy recycled swimwear to show your support.
Sometimes voicing your support for a green cause is as simple as ordering an eco-friendly swimsuit. When you buy ethically, you send a message to the manufacturers that they are doing the right thing and should keep up with it.
There is a lot of debate about the recyclable plastic swimwear fitting. Most people wonder whether the suit feels like a regular suit, and the answer is yes. It’s even more comfortable than your regular swimsuit.
While sustainable swimwear is more comfortable and safer for the environment, it’s more costly than fast fashion.
This might be a deal breaker for many people as they find it outrageous to spend a lot of money on swimsuits, but remember that eco-friendly brands invest a lot of time and resources into making their pieces long-lasting and resistant.
This means that while you spend more on sustainable swimwear, it lasts for many summers.
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Is recycled plastic a perfect solution?
The answer to this is NO. After all, there is no perfect system. When you soak or wash the garments, they shed plastic microfibers that can get into the rivers and oceans, where they have the potential of getting into our food system.
A 2017 New Textiles Economy report says that over half a million tons of plastic microfibers are shed into oceans annually while washing plastic-based textiles such as nylon, polyester, and acrylic.
To avoid adding to this pollution, the manufacturers encourage their customers to gently wash their swimsuits by hand in cold water so as to release fewer particles.
The manufacturers also sell washing bags from where you clean your swimsuit. The bags capture the microfibers when you wash the swimsuit by hand or machine, preventing the particles from ending up in waterways.
To prevent landfill, remove the microfibers from the inside of the bag and dispose of them in the trash.
There is also the issue of recycling old swimsuits. To create a completely closed loop system, customers are encouraged to send their old, worn-out swimsuits to an online consignment shop, and in return, they receive credit.
Other manufacturers ask their customers to ship their old suits to the company factories, and the company takes care of the shipping costs.
Sustainable swimwear means less plastic in waterways.
It’s no doubt that synthetic fabrics are a scourge on the planet, and with the ever-increasing carbon emissions, everyone must play a role in making the planet a better place. And the beauty is you don’t have to do everything alone.
When every one of us does one bit, we collectively create a more sustainable world, and things look much less bleak.
One vital role you can play is to buy sustainable swimwear this summer. While the outfit will be a little more expensive than your regular swimwear, it will be more comfortable and last much longer.
Sustainable swimwear also means less plastic in the oceans, rivers, and other water bodies.
With many trendy brands investing heavily in ethical swimsuits, it’s now much easier than ever to switch from regular swimsuits without compromising your style, so don’t worry about taking the plunge.