Plastics & Materials (ECONYL®) > Plastics & the Ocean Clean Up
Posted on January 02 2020
So, what is the state of plastic in our oceans? Well let’s say, we are literally drowning in it. Did you know that garbage trucks’ worth of plastic enters our precious oceans every minute? Frightening. Not only that but as a human race, we have dumped over 14 million tons of plastic pollution into our precious oceans, our Mother Earth’s last sink. The problem with plastic when it reaches our waters, be in plastic bags or drifting fishing nets is that it’s a threat to our animals who depend on the ocean. But the issue doesn’t stop just there, we know plastic is harming marine life, but what about us? Often there are tiny weeny little bits of plastic in the fish and shellfish we eat, and we are still racing to figure out what impact that has on our health.
What we do know is that by 2050 it’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish by weight in our oceans and of that clothing and textiles are the primary source of microplastics in our oceans. So, what impact does what we wear have on the planet? Huge, and brands are reacting to the blue planet effect: from Stella McCartney, Gucci, Prada, Adidas, and PAMA London, brands are taking fishing nets, discarded plastic and making sure they find their way into our wardrobes. By using materials from recycled ocean waste and a big player in that is ECONYL®, which, as Vogue describes it is “changing all the conversations about who buys and why”.
There is no escaping it that plastic is everywhere, creating pollution in our oceans and we need to solve the problem but sourcing the right products. The demand for environmentally conscious clothing is also there, with 72% of Gen Z women saying they would actively buy brands that are environmentally friendly.
The brand PAMA London is an example of that, choosing ECONYL® as their main source of material to go into their clothes. Why? Because, ECONYL® is a regenerated nylon created from plastic found in oceans, so essentially you are buying new products without having to use new resources. The long-term aim is to make the future circular and help you close the loop.
How it helps our oceans
With every purchase of a product made in ECONYL®, you are helping to support the Ocean clean up. Tones of fishing nets are discarded into our oceans every year, and with the help of the Aquafil’s process (that creates ECONYL®) the products can be broken back to yarn again and again and reused as well to create really beautiful, function fabrics like the sportswear you can see on places like the PAMA London website.
ECONYL® has great eco-friendly credentials, firstly the use of abandoned fishing nets is helping to clean up the seas, entanglement in abandoned nets causes the death of many thousands of whales, dolphins and other sea life every year. For every 10,000 tonnes of raw materials recycled into ECONYL® 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved, and 57,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions are avoided compared to traditional production methods. ECONYL® fabrics can be recycled infinitely without losing quality, supporting the vision of more circular fashion industry. This growing trend for recycling ocean waste and turning it into fashion is going to be a redefining moment for our blue planet.
The small changes make a big difference
There is no getting away from it, plastic is killing our fish, turning up on our food and literally raining down into our rivers, oceans and now even turning up in the snow in the Alps. With everyone taking small steps and opting for things like Earth-friendly activewear there is hope in the future. ECONYL® gives us the opportunity for a new system, not a single product. Yes, the cost is marginally higher than for virgin nylon but it’s the step we can all take into the supply chain that helps meet the ever-increasing demand for consumerism.
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We are committed to sustainable practices throughout the production process and create eco-conscious, luxurious pieces you can feel good about wearing.