Every small contribution matters when it comes to helping out clean the environment. While the advent of plastic has made it easier to throw out things than to fix them, a part of the waste can be recycled and brought back into use. And brands have come up with their solution to lessen the environmental impact of the clothing industry. A new clothing project, Sea Threads, is doing its bit to save the oceans. Their clothes are made with Certified Ocean Plastic.
Humans produce approximately 335M metric tons, according to a Smithsonian Ocean report. the UN Environment Programme reports that the global impact of plastic pollution on the environment has touched ‘epidemic proportions.’ An estimated 100M tons of plastic have already ended up in the seas, most of it from land-based dumps.
The Major Plastic Problem In The Oceans
One major cause of the rapid increase in the amount of dumped plastic is that our economics aren’t focused on the recycling of products, and the systems that are in place aren’t capable of handling the volumes of the waste generated.
Thus, a mere 9% of the discarded plastic gets recycled. The rest end up in landfills, some are incinerated, generating toxic gases, while a lot of it flows down the rivers and other waterways and ends up in the oceans. They end up killing marine life, acidifying the oceans, and turning into microplastics that come back mixed with seafood.
Dylan Cross, CEO of Sea Threads, says that the plastic crisis in the oceans is definitely on top of his priority for the environment. Global warming, climate change, and ocean plastic are all interconnected. The ocean remains at the core of life forms and anything that can harm them will end up harming life on the planet. This is what stands at the core of Sea Threads’ philosophy; tackling the ocean plastic crisis through consumer demand and translating it into a business opportunity.
Performance wear has conventionally been made from virgin plastic. The final product is breathable, UV protective, moisture-wicking, which is moving moisture away from your skin during strenuous physical activity. These qualities combine to make it an ideal wear for physical activities like exercise and sports. But then it, unfortunately, set up around 60M tons every year of virgin plastic in the form of polyester textiles.
In recent times, manufacturers have begun concentrating on more eco-friendly products through recycling. Plastics that undergo the waste management process are being also looked at for use in this sector which was once totally into the use of virgin plastic.
Sea Threads Makes Its Wear Directly From Ocean Plastic
Sea Threads go a step further. It bypasses the recycling system and sources its raw material directly from the oceans. Cross uses plastic collected from the ocean including those scoured from the coastline
In each of their shirt, they have focused on recycling plastic that already exists and transforming them into quality performance clothing. He believes that there is enough plastic in the oceans and we do not need to produce more for our needs. We don’t need to add more to the mountains that we already have on the planet.
Sea Threads sources its plastics for their performance wear from the once gathered on the beaches or floating in the oceans. It was a tough challenge that he undertook instead of relying on the easier way out and sticking to virgin plastic.
It makes a difference even to the customers who realize that they contribute to the change each time they purchase a Sea Thread product.
Cross said that most companies use plastics sourced from the recycled process, which isn’t ocean plastic in the real sense. He says that he is focused on removing plastic from the oceans in a small way. Where the raw material is sourced from makes a vast difference to the product.
The raw material for Sea Thread garments is sourced from micro-enterprises, local communities, and government organizations that work on the coastlines of Indonesia. This region contributed around 60% of the plastic that ends up in the oceans. The ocean plastic used in Sea Threads products is collected, cleaned, processed through extrusion to turn them into fibers which are then woven with textiles. They are then shipped back to the US. There the fabric is used to make the final product.
Sea Threads plans to diversify into other beachwear products including board shorts, hats, towels, and rash guards. They hope to replace the use of both post-consumer and virgin plastic. Their Kickstarter campaign was a success as they reached their 10,000 targets in a couple of hours, ultimately reaching double that figure. This alone helped remove 500 pounds of plastic from the ocean.