What Are The Benefits Of Buying Sustainable Swimwear?

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Have you ever considered the benefits of buying sustainable swimwear? If not, it's time to take a closer look.

More and more women are choosing to make their purchases sustainable.

The benefits are endless, so here's your sign to buy sustainable swimwear! 

Sustainable swimwear has become a hot topic in the fashion industry. Why?

Because we care about our environment, so much so that some of us are willing to put money where our mouth is.

We've started paying attention to how what we wear affects the world around us, especially when it comes to the oceans.

The more people who buy sustainable clothing items like bikinis or bathing suits made from environmentally friendly materials, the less likely they will harm sea life with their clothing.

This post explores the benefits of buying sustainable swimwear so that you can decide if it's right for your needs.

If this sounds interesting to you, read on!

The Problem With Swimsuits

So why does swimwear present such a challenge when it comes to sustainability? It comes down to one thing: plastic.

Synthetic fabrics–like nylon, polyester, and spandex–are perfectly suited for swimwear because they wick moisture and stretch across the body, reducing friction in the water.

They are also inexpensive to make and versatile, so the fashion industry relies on them heavily, not just for swimwear but also activewear, outerwear, and cheap fast-fashion garments.

An estimated 65 million tons of these plastic-based materials are generated every year.

This is a problem because plastic is not biodegradable, so it never decomposes. Instead, it sits in landfills or oceans forever, adding to the estimated 8 billion tons of plastic that already exist on the planet.

There's no good way to get rid of this plastic.

Some countries have resorted to burning it, creating carbon emissions since plastic is made from fossil fuels.

In countries without good waste management systems, plastic-based fibres sometimes end up in the oceans, where sea animals can mistake them for food, causing them to choke.

However, there isn't a biodegradable material with all the performance qualities necessary for a swimsuit.

As a result, eco-friendly brands are relying on the next best alternative: recycled plastic. As a result, a growing list of swimwear brands uses recycled plastic to make products rather than virgin plastic.

The Brave New World of Recycled Plastics

But recycled plastic has its limits. For one, large companies aren't set up to use it. That's why you generally see smaller startups creating swimwear out of recycled materials.

Some companies only began creating swimsuits three years ago and used Econyl, nylon created from recycled plastic, including industrial plastic diverted from landfills and oceans.

Of course, it's important to remember that recycled plastic is not–on its own–a perfect solution.

When the customer is done with it, it is likely to fall in the trash since few facilities recycle synthetic materials.

That means the suit will be landfilled, incinerated, or it will end up in the ocean after a few summers.

But this is the reality: The quest for sustainability is full of trade-offs.

After all, swimsuits need to survive many elements: the sun, heat, saltwater, and chlorine. So the longer the customer can use the swimsuit, the longer it stays out of a landfill.

In the Hands of the Customer

About a decade ago, scientists discovered something alarming:

When we wash synthetic materials, minuscule pieces of plastic are released into the water, which eventually finds their way into the ocean.

In addition, biologists have found traces of microplastics inside fish, which means they have now entered the human food chain.

While the study of microplastics is still in its infancy, early research has shown that these materials are taxing our livers and kidneys. 

Fashion is not the only industry contributing to this problem. But synthetic apparel is contributing to it.

Brands can't control what happens to a product once it's in the hands of the consumer.

But with their swimwear campaign, some are trying to raise awareness about the problem of microplastics.

Some companies offer customers tips to reduce the shed of microplastic, including gently washing synthetic garments by hand in cold water (which has been shown to release fewer particles than the rigorous cycles of a washing machine).

Some companies also sell a bag that captures microfibers when you hand- or machine-wash your synthetic clothes so that these particles don't end up in waterways.

But this is not an adequate solution. After all, you still need to somehow dispose of the microplastics inside the bag.

This involves pulling them out and putting them in the trash–but these tiny particles may end up in the waterways anyway since they are swept away by rainwaters. 

Ultimately, the only way to truly deal with the problem is to install filters on washing machines or in the sewer system to capture the microplastics before they end up in the water–and then use an industrial machine to suck up these plastic particles and recycle them.

None of which is realistic for an average consumer. 

Many swimwear brands that advertise their sustainable fabrics don't have a good solution for helping customers recycle their swimsuits. 

While we have the technology to recycle fabrics made of a single fibre, like cashmere or cotton, it's much harder to break down synthetics, which tend to be blends of different fibres.

So currently, the best way to prevent synthetics from ending up in a landfill is to send them to a recycling facility that will chop the fabrics into little pieces, which can be used for other products, like housing insulation and the stuffing for throw pillows.

Ultimately, everyone is gunning for a time when it will be possible to recycle plastic-based fibres.

Scientists are currently developing machinery that will separate different fibres in a blend–pulling the nylon apart from the cotton, for instance–and turn them back into new fibres, which can be used for new clothes. 

This is much like how we currently recycle paper into new paper, or plastic bottles into new bottles, in a perfectly circular system. 

Once we can scale this technology, it could transform the entire fashion industry. In theory, it would mean that fashion brands would never need to rely on raw materials ever again.

While synthetic fabrics are currently a scourge on the planet, collecting in landfills and the oceans, we envision a world where we stop making plastic altogether and instead constantly recycle the plastic we already have. 

No one has the silver-bullet solution for circularity. But one of the things that are promising about synthetics is that they can be recycled infinitely.

What Is Sustainable Swimwear?

Sustainable swimwear, unlike regular swimwear, is made using low-impact materials by people paid fair wages in safe conditions.

It's often crafted from recycled fibres, employing circular or zero waste processes and many sustainable swimwear brands work hard to give back to charities and local communities.

Sustainable swimwear is made using materials that are environmentally friendly and won't harm sea life.

Sustainable swimwear companies work with suppliers who follow all labour laws and produce clothing in safe working conditions.

They also use eco-friendly production methods, like solar or wind power, which cut down on harmful emissions.

Early efforts to create sustainable swimwear used recycled plastic bottles to create fabric, which often results in an unattractive product.

Now the most common way is to combine a mixture of bamboo fibre, which is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, and eco-friendly!

Why Choose a Sustainable Brand?

We live in, and often live for, our clothes, yet we are not as educated as we should be about how these clothes are made and why it matters.

For those of us learning to balance our fashion interests with conscious consumption, a wider awareness of the materials used and the environmental impacts can guide us towards more sustainable decisions and choosing clothing that uses sustainable fabrics is a step in the right direction.

It is estimated that each year we consume around 80 billion pieces of clothing.

Clothing is made up of materials, so producing this large volume of materials year after year puts a huge strain on the planet, both in terms of the environmental impact, such as waste and pollution, and natural resources.

So, buying items made from sustainability is sure to come with its own set of benefits.

Why Is it Important to Switch?

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Swimwear made from unsustainable materials can release thousands of tiny pieces of microplastic into the marine ecosystem every time it is washed, posing a major threat to fish and other animals.

Some studies have shown that one item of clothing could release more than 700,000 microfibers per wash.

This plastic doesn't just sit in the ocean. It also enters the food chain and ends up on our plates.

As a result of this research, many clothing companies have begun to change their manufacturing processes to save the oceans from being polluted by microplastics.

Recycled Swimwear FAQs

What Is Sustainable Swimwear Made From?

Many brands craft swimsuits, bikinis, board shorts and trunks from recycled materials like fishing nets and plastic bottles.

Some companies, for example, recycle their material cut-offs of marine plastic waste-based fabrics into new items and prioritises pre-orders to reduce stock waste.

How Can Buying Sustainable Swimwear Help People and the Planet?

Plenty of brands work directly with charities or create their foundations to protect people and the planet.

So by shopping for sustainable swimwear, you not only contribute to circular design processes, but you also directly protect the people making your clothes.

Why Is Sustainable Swimwear Important?

Even though many eco-friendly brands use recycled synthetics, it's safe to say that such clothes are more durable, as their main goal is to last rather than get lost in one of the endless fast fashion cycles.

This is why sustainable swimwear has become more popular in recent years.

What Makes a Bathing Suit Sustainable?

For more sustainable swimsuits, it's best to look for good quality swimwear made from recycled materials, so no new resources were used to make it.

For example, existing plastic from things like fishing nets and bottles can be repurposed into something usable.

What Is the Most Sustainable Swimwear Fabric?

Natural. There are two categories when it comes to sustainable swimwear: natural fibres and upcycled fibres. Hemp is the main champion here and is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics on the market.

What Is the Most Ethical Fabric?

Natural Fibres

Recycled Cotton

Cotton is one of the most common and most used fabrics. This natural fibre is light and breathable, which makes it a wardrobe staple.

Organic Hemp

One of the oldest fibres in the world, hemp helps keep you warm in winter and cool in summer and gets softer the more you wash it. 

Organic-Linen

Linen is another natural fibre we've been growing for centuries. Similar to hemp, it's derived from a very versatile crop: the flax plant. As a result, linen requires minimal water and pesticides and even grows in poor-quality soil. 

Futuristic and Innovative Fabrics

Benefits of Sustainable Swimwear Over Traditional Swimwear

Microplastics are everywhere. They're in our oceans and even the air we breathe. There's also good reason to believe that these tiny plastic pieces can end up in your food, too, if you eat seafood frequently enough.

So What Can Be Done?

Switching to sustainable swimwear made from bamboo, which is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, will help reduce your carbon footprint on this planet.

You'll be able to feel better about yourself knowing you're doing your part to save our environment by buying one of these items for your next beach trip!

As a bonus, bamboo fabric is very soft against the skin, so wearing it feels great!

Not only does sustainable swimwear help the planet, but also the employees who manufacture them.

The materials they use are better for the Earth, but they're also healthier to work with.

Sustainable swimwear brands do their best to ensure that every worker in their supply chain is treated fairly and with respect. This means no child labour or forced labour.

All this contributes to a better quality of life for workers in the sustainable swimwear industry and anyone who gets to wear these items!

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What Are the Implications for This?

As consumers, we can have a huge impact on the industry by simply purchasing sustainable swimwear instead of regular clothing made from unsustainable fabrics.

When you buy a bikini or bathing suit, look for one made using materials that are environmentally friendly and won't harm sea life. For example, opt for swimsuits made from recycled polyamide instead of conventional polyester.

By choosing this type of clothing to purchase, you can help create demand for sustainable clothes, which will encourage more companies to produce them.

Where Can You Find Sustainable Swimwear?

Luckily, you don't have to go far to find sustainable swimwear.

A few online shops offer an appreciable range of styles and sizes made from bamboo or recycled plastics.

Etsy is another great place where you can buy one-of-a-kind pieces handmade by local artisans worldwide, many of whom target the eco-conscious community!

With the increasing popularity of eco-friendly swimsuits, you may already have a shop in your town that offers exactly what you want! You'll be surprised at how many sustainable swimwear brands there really are these days!

Conclusion

Natural materials come from and exist within nature and come from the same places that our food does.

Like food, these natural materials can come from animals or plants.

Plant-based materials, such as cotton, hemp, linen and raffia, are very much the fruits and vegetables of our wardrobe.

These materials, if produced for sustainable clothing, are often organic.

Animal-based materials, such as wool, silk, cashmere and alpaca are also sustainable and viable options for clothing.

Much like how meat can come from organic and sustainable farms, the same goes for our clothing.

Using organic and sustainable fabrics, such as cotton, is better for the environment due to a natural, environmentally friendly method.

For example, producing organic cotton uses less carbon due to lesser fuel and energy consumption.

In addition, as it goes through a chemical-free production process, it also helps to prevent water consumption.

For some brands, their dedication to using sustainable fabrics for their products often goes further than just their products. As fashion is one of the most polluting industries globally, brands get satisfaction from developing their sustainable passions and beliefs.

Whether they work to replace the fashion industry standard developments and practices or donate to sustainable charities, it shows that the fashion industry is becoming more aware of the impact on the environment.

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