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What is Sustainable Swimwear? Learn the Facts!

Intro to sustainable swimwear

When I announced to my circle of family and friends that I was launching a sustainable swimwear line, I was surprised to find that many had never heard of this concept. I received many questions like “What exactly is sustainable swimwear?” “Why is it important?” “How is it different from the swimwear I buy elsewhere?” If you have ever had similar questions and want to learn more about sustainable swimwear, then keep reading!  We will dive deeper into what exactly sustainable swimwear is and why sustainable choices are worth considering.

Definition of sustainability

The topic of ocean pollution has gained more attention after documentaries like A Plastic Ocean and Chasing Coral surfaced on Netflix. It is devastating to see the 

negative effect plastic and other pollutants have on the ocean- including taking the lives from millions of innocent marine animals and coral. For years, large corporations have been major contributors to ocean pollution. Now, as of 2020, we are seeing more and more companies addressing this issue and seeking to reduce their environmental impact through sustainable practices.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.” The overall goal of following sustainable practices is for humans to exist in harmony with nature, therefore limiting our destructive footprint for future generations to come. Many companies are adopting sustainable values and discovering innovative ways to produce their products while having minimal impact on the planet because they have recognized their responsibility to do so.

As consumers, we can also be more sustainable by supporting companies that have put in the extra effort in going green. This is now easier to do than it has ever been before! From simple items like recycled paper, to large products like electric vehicles, the options for sustainable products and services are truly endless! 

So, why choose sustainable swimwear?

Swimwear is typically created from synthetic nylon material. This material contains fibers are made from plastic molecules and the production can cause severe damage to our planet.

Here are some facts to consider about producing nylon:

1. Nylon production releases greenhouse gases

The process to create nylon involves the burning of coal, which releases nitrous-oxide into the environment. This gas is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide and contributes to global warming by depleting the ozone layer. The earth’s higher temperatures have caused the ocean to warm and resulted in mass coral bleaching.

2. Nylon dyeing pollutes water

It is difficult to color synthetic textiles and much of the dye will not adhere.  Almost 20% of water pollution comes from dyeing textiles and 72 toxic chemicals have been identified in water solely from textile dyeing, 30 of which cannot be removed

3. Nylon is non-biodegradable

This means that once it is produced, it stays on the earth forever. It also cannot be recycled and will sit in landfills infinitely if thrown away. Items like fishing nets, which are created from nylon, are frequently found abandoned in the ocean and pose a threat to all marine life. These nets, like all other nylon products, will never biodegrade and could remain in the ocean beyond 600 years.

As you can see, the production of nylon is quite costly on the planet. Thankfully, many dedicated and innovative companies have found a way to turn this synthetic waste into a brand new nylon fiber. The process begins with collecting ghost fishing nets from the ocean floor. These nets are separated, cleaned, and recycled back into its original purity. This process of regenerating nylon  reduces the environmental effects of producing nylon by 80%! These fibers can also be used for a variety of products, including swimwear. When you purchase swimwear made from sustainable material, you are contributing to the cleaning of our oceans, our planet, and protecting our ocean friends.

How to find sustainable swimwear brands

Sustainable swimwear has become somewhat of a trend in 2020.  Many companies have announced that they are taking steps to become more sustainable and lessen their impact on the earth.  There are many things that can make swimwear sustainable, such as the way it is produced, who produces it, and the materials used in production.  It is worth taking the extra steps to learn more about the companies you shop from to ensure sustainable claims.  Here are a few areas we recommend looking into:    

1. Research materials 

Many companies have switched to ECONYL®, a regenerated fiber created from ocean waste, as a nylon replacement. ECONYL® is an innovative leader in sustainable fabrics because they have found a way to collect synthetic materials, like abandoned fishing nets and industrial carpets, and  transform it into a luxurious and virgin-like nylon. This nylon can be used as a replacement in all kinds of common products, from home decor to clothing. When mixed with elastane, it creates a comfortable, form-fitting, and high-quality swimwear fabric.

2. Observe packaging choices

There are many innovative ways to sustainably package and ship products.  If you are purchasing from a sustainable brand, be sure to research the packaging they choose to ship their products in.  Any company making sustainable claims should be seeking out the most eco-friendly packaging for their store. All companies have the option to choose recycled/recyclable, biodegradable, reusable, and even minimal packaging materials.  

3. Seek out ethical production

Have you ever thought about how your clothing is made?  Fast fashion is a popular trend that refers to trendy clothing made cheaply and quickly, usually at the expense of the environment.  Many fast fashion factories are ran in low and middle income countries, which can be impacted negatively.  Factory workers are faced with long hours in poorly ran facilities and can be severely underpaid.  It is recommended to research an organization's supply chain to ensure they are creating products ethically.  There are many production companies that value the livelihood of their employees and are worth seeking out.  

Overall, it is worth considering sustainable products to better preserve our planet for future generations.  I hope that this article was able to provide more insight on sustainability and why sustainable swimwear is important to my brand!  If you are interested in seeing some sustainable swimwear styles, be sure to  check out our swimwear collection, which is made entirely with ECONYL® regenerated nylon!