Recycled Plastic Never Looked So Good

By: Meredith Sweeney

Did you know that every piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists? Most plastics can take up to 1,000 years to decompose and plastic bottles are among the biggest offenders. Across the globe, human buy a million plastic water bottles per minute, which not only pile up in landfills, but also contribute to the 937 million tons of plastic projected to fill the world’s oceans by 2050, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.  

It’s an overwhelming number, but we can all do our part to help reduce plastic consumption by using refillable water bottles, to start. Another way? Purchase clothing that’s made from recycled plastic. Apparel brands are getting in on the sustainability movement and manufacturing clothes and shoes with recycled materials, particularly plastic bottles. No cheesy tote bags here! If you want to look good and feel good about what you are buying, check out these brands the next time you need an excuse to shop.

Denim: G-Star Raw

According to this innovative denim company, “sustainability is a condition for doing business.” The brand’s responsible supply chain is one of the “Raw Responsibility Milestones” on their website, including the 2018 launch of their most sustainable jean to date, the Elwood RFTPi. These jeans are Cradle to Cradle Certified™, the label given to products that meet the highest standard of sustainability in five areas: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship and social fairness.

Kids’ Clothes: Cat & Jack

The kids’ clothing brand sold at Target uses certified recycled polyester made from plastic bottles to create its popular line. Since launching in July 2016, Target has helped recycle nearly 250 million plastic bottles, thanks in part to Cat & Jack. That’s enough plastic bottles to wrap around the entire planet.

Men’s and Women’s Clothes: Everlane

With its ReNew collection, apparel brand Everlane introduced a line of clothes made of recycled plastic bottles in fall 2018. From sweatshirts and warm puffers to parkas, the brand is making winter stylish and sustainableit’s already used more than 3 million old bottles to manufacture the line. Even more impressive: it’s committed to eliminating new plastic from its supply chain entirely by 2021.

Outdoor Gear: Patagonia

Patagonia’s record for sustainability practices goes back a long way. The company started using recycled polyester from plastic soda bottles back in 1993. The process also lessens the brand’s dependence on petroleum, thereby reducing waste and emissions from incinerators. Check out Patagonia’s Capilene® baselayers, shell jackets and board shorts for a glimpse at their eco-conscious fashions!

Shoes: Rothy’s

After identifying a need for women’s shoes that are comfortable, stylish and sustainably made, co-founders Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin spent three years researching and creating popular shoe brand Rothy’s. Rothy’s are an all-day, everyday shoe made from recycled water bottles. According to the company, it’s already repurposed nearly 20 million water bottles. 

Workout Gear: Girlfriend Collective

Best-known for their women’s workout clothes, Girlfriend Collective launched with the goals of transparency in their manufacturing process and building a community of people that care about how their clothes are made. They use post-consumer water bottles from Taiwan for their leggings and bras, and their LITE leggings use Econyl, a fiber made from recycled fishing nets and other waste that would otherwise be discarded into oceans and landfills.

Now that you know where to shop, finding stylish items that are good for the environment—and your wardrobe—should be a no-brainer. Want to learn even more about how you can help stem plastic pollution? Follow the Climate Reality Project on ThatHelps’ app! 

Photo: Rothys.com