Rescue

Discarded plastic polluting waterways and oceans has become a significant environmental issue that results in wide-ranging impacts on marine ecosystems and human health. In recent years, many organisations have developed initiatives to rescue this discarded plastic and repurpose it into well-designed clothing that is not only exceedingly durable but raises awareness of marine pollution and promotes sustainable practices within the fashion industry.

The Re-nylon backpack (1) was manufactured as part of a collaboration between Prada’s Re-nylon initiative and Aquafil who developed Econyl, a nylon thread made from discarded fishing nets pulled from the ocean. Econyl is created through a depolymerisation process that allows the fibres to be recycled and reused an infinite number of times with no loss in material or quality. The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses (2) were also manufactured using ocean plastic, specifically material recovered from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In 2019, the Ocean Cleanup initiative launched System 001/Wilson the world’s first ocean cleanup system to gather, remove, and reuse sections of the garbage patch. The trial lasted four months and improved systems have since replaced this first method, however, these sunglasses and their case were made with plastic recovered during the first trial.

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Not all ocean plastics are rescued directly from the ocean. Ocean bound plastics (OBP) are defined as “those at risk of ending up in ocean,” and are typically recovered within a short distance from coastlines and riverbanks. Interestingly, 80% of recovered ocean plastic is OBP. The wristband and case of the Triwa watch (3) are made entirely out of OBP, recycled by the #tide organisation. This organisation has developed a global supply chain of OBP, collecting and upcycling plastic that would have otherwise polluted waterways in several countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, or the Philippines. The Parley bomber jacket (4) was manufactured as part of a collaboration between Adidas and Parley for the Oceans. The shell and mesh lining of this jacket is made entirely from recycled polyester, produced by Parley through the retrieval of OBPs. Like #tide, Parley has created a supply chain for upcycled OBPs by recovering material from the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and the Dominican Republic.

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