A Load of Rubbish: Why Our Bikinis Are Made From Recycled Plastic
It’s a beautifully sunny day in Australia and you’ve decided to enjoy it by grabbing your board and hitting the waves. You slip off your sandals and feel the warm sand between your toes as you walk towards the ocean. The sunshine catches the surface of the water and fragments into millions of sparkling diamonds as far as the eye can see. As you paddle away from the beach, your fingers brush against something floating in the water. You look down and there it is...plastic waste.
It’s not just Australia, travel anywhere around the world and you will notice the same problem. Plastic pollution has affected every corner of our planet. The sheer amount of waste we produce is totally not sustainable and spells bad news for the environment, especially for our oceans.
The Problem With Plastic Waste in Our Oceans
Can you guess how many pieces of plastic are currently floating around in our oceans? It’s not a million, nor a billion, but OVER 5 TRILLION! It’s unimaginable but true. And they’re not just floating around undisturbed; around 700 species of marine animals have eaten or become entangled in this plastic.
If you’re finding it difficult to believe that animals would want to eat plastic, then think about how similar a plastic bag can look to jellyfish. Turtles often mistake them as food and subsequently block their airways, causing them to swim closer to the surface and putting themselves at risk of boat accidents.
What’s more, the above statistic doesn’t take into account microplastics. These tiny pieces of plastic are made when plastic degrades or when they are manufactured as microbeads for exfoliating cosmetics. Microplastics affect entire food chains, from zooplankton all the way to seafood consumers (humans). They have even been found in the Great Australian Bight, which is considered a “pristine” area of biodiversity.
Ghost Fishing Nets
When left unattended, they trap all sorts of marine life that die of exhaustion, suffocation, starvation, and even amputation. The entrapment of sea animals results in the attraction of predators, such as dolphins, turtles, and sharks, which often become entangled themselves.
Drifting ghost nets frequently become so heavy that they sink to the bottom of the ocean and seabed dwellers feast on the carcasses until the net becomes light enough to float back up to the surface where the cycle begins again. They also have the ability to get caught on coral reefs, resulting in their destruction.
Where Does the Plastic Come From?
Our current economy is based upon a linear model, which means that the majority of products are mass-produced with low quality. Consequently, if something breaks (which it inevitably does quite quickly), then we simply replace it. Little thought is put into the waste that is produced and, whilst we do have recycling systems in place, they are incredibly inefficient and the majority of what we recycle ends up in landfills or back in the ocean. In fact, only 9% of the plastic we have disposed of is recycled!
To find out more about linear and circular economies within the fashion industry, then check out our blog on fast fashion
To make matters worse, many companies don’t even try to recycle. In Australia, businesses create over 12.5 million tonnes of waste and almost half of that goes to landfills, even though roughly 70% of that can be reused or recycled.
Cutting Down on Commercial Waste With Sustainable Swimwear
Whilst there are things we can do on an individual level about consumer waste, such as using less single-use plastic, what can we do about commercial waste? Well, here at Beach Bums and Feels, we wanted to do something as a brand to solve the issue of plastic waste in our oceans, so we created recyclable sustainable swimwear that’s made from ghost fishing nets and old industrial carpets!
If you want to know more about how you can cut down on single-use plastic, then read this great article by SunButter on how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Australian Sustainable Swimwear With Econyl
We make our sustainable swimwear using Econyl, which is a fabric made out of recycled nylon. This innovative material is the brainchild of Aquafil, who rescue industrial plastic waste from all over the world and break it down in a novel process to create raw material that has exactly the same quality as virgin nylon.
Not only does it reduce the plastic waste in our oceans, but it also uses far less energy and crude oil in the manufacturing process than virgin nylon. For every 10,000 tonnes of Econyl raw material, Aquafil is able to save 70,000 barrels of crude oil and avoid 57,100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.
Beach Bums and Feels uses this recycled plastic to create our sustainable swimwear that is both fashionable and eco-friendly! But don’t just take our word for it, check out our collection for yourselves!