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Raingear and swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles

Alarmed by the prediction that plastic will outnumber fish in the ocean by weight in 2050, several companies have turned to recycling plastic bottles to make raingear and swimwear.

When it comes to make plastic clothing, using recycled plastic kind of defeats the purpose, as large amounts of micro fibres are released when the clothing is washed. However, in the case of raingear and swimwear, both designed to get wet and dry quickly, synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are currently the go-to materials. Therefore, using recycled plastic is the better alternative.

Raingear
The New Zealand rainwear company Okewa created a new capsule collection, made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The collection consists of 7 types of coats and jackets, 4 women’s and 3 men’s.

The coats consist of a two-layer cloth with a technical membrane backing and a face fabric of 100 per cent recycled plastic water bottles. To make the fabric, plastic bottles are shredded and melted into pellets. The pellets are extruded into a yarn, spun into thread and woven into fabric using a herringbone weave. Lastly, the fabric is laminated to be waterproof.

The fabric is prepared in a Bluesign-approved mill. Bluesign is a Switzerland-based environmental accreditation programme that works to maintain high environmental performance standards across textile supply chains.

For the jackets, 22 bottles are used, and for the coats 31. The coats are all waterproof rated to 10,000mm, breathable to 10,000g/m2/24hr, windproof, and seam-sealed.

The project can currently be supported on Kickstarter.

Swimwear
Having noticed more plastic on the beach, companies like Fair Harbor and Riz Boardshorts turned to using recycled plastic bottles to create swimwear. According to Riz, “The simple fact that we make a product that needs to be quick drying means that we have to use plastics but we don’t want to make products that pollute the sea.”

The recycled polyester is made in the same way as the fabric for the raincoats, minus the waterproofing layer. For bikinis and one pieces, Fair Harbor uses a mixed fabric consisting of 88 per cent recycled polyester and 12 per cent spandex. Fair Harbor uses ocean plastic collected from Haiti, while Riz works with The Marine Conservation Society and other partners, aiming use ocean plastic in the near future.

Photos: Okewa / Fair Harbor / Riz Boardshorts

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