What is a Recycled Plastic Bikini? Trends in Eco Friendly Swimwear

You may have heard of brands offering recycled plastic swimwear or eco friendly swimsuits made with recycled plastic bottles and thought to yourself, how on earth can a bikini be made from plastic?

Sustainable and eco friendly swimwear is becoming more popular, with recycled plastic swimwear emerging at the forefront of this environmental trend.  A few inventive companies have been able to utilize recovered trash from the ocean and landfills, recycled plastic bottles, and left over plastic from the manufacturing process and turn it into swimwear fabric. This is, in part, a response to the plastic pollution crisis facing the ocean today where approximately 8 million tons of trash flow into the ocean each year from land based sources.

Swimwear Fabric Basics

Swimwear is made from nylon, a synthetic fiber.  Nylon is a polymer and is petroleum based.  Nylon cannot biodegrade making it similar to other types of plastic people use everyday like plastic bags, single use coffee cups or plastic straws. Virgin nylon material has a large footprint, as it is an oil byproduct and does not biodegrade like most plastic products.

How is Recycled Swimwear Fabric Created?

Fabric made from recycled plastics is emerging as part of a multi faceted solution to the growing concern of plastic pollution in the ocean, as well as the pollution caused by the fashion industry.  Because polyester is a form of plastic, plastics used everyday can be regenerated and turned back into fabric.  Plastic water bottles, left over plastic from the manufacturing process, and fluff from old carpets are just some of the plastics that can be turned into fabric.  Even abandoned fishing nets, often referred to as ghost fishing nets, are recovered from the ocean and can be part of the composition of the recycled swimwear fabric.rash to Treasure  
After the plastics are collected, cleaned, and melted down, they are turned into little chips or pellets.  The small pellet sized pieces of plastic will be stretched to create fully recycled and regenerated yarn.  The yarn is sent to textile mills all over the world where they can be spun to create sustainable and eco friendly fabric alternatives that don’t require a dependence on virgin materials.
Textile companies specializing in recycled swimsuit fabrics will often weave a spandex component into the mix to help the material retain its ability to stretch, and improve the ability of the fabric to holdup well in sun light, chlorine, and exposure to sun screens and oils.  

Environmental Activism Holds Companies Accountable

Eco friendly swimwear is becoming the preferred alternative for many environmentally conscious women.  Companies will be offering more of these sustainable options as they realize bikini clad babes are among some of the first at the forefront of ocean pollution issues.  Why? Because they spend a lot of time at the beach and enjoy the ocean for recreational activities, so when it becomes polluted, they take notice.