If you’re trying to make environmentally conscious choices, the word “recycled” seems to be a sign of sustainability, right? As it turns out, it’s not always the best choice, especially when it comes to sustainable swimwear.
If you buy an item that is made out of 70% recycled plastic, that means the remaining 30% is still new plastic, which is harmful to the ecosystem. On top of that, there isn’t enough recycled plastic to go around. Buying clothing with recycled plastic increases the demand and takes the material away from industries like construction that can put it into products with a much longer lifespan.
The process of recycling plastic into clothing items like swimsuits can actually do more damage to the environment than if the material was sent to a landfill.
To add to it all, plastic microfibers simply aren’t suitable for clothing that is washed often, like swimsuits. They end up in the ocean, on your skin, and in the fresh water system.
Unfortunately, it’s currently very difficult to make a swimsuit completely without plastic, because it needs to at least have elastic bands to get it on and off and keep it snug to your body. Some brands are solving this by designing lace up suits and other solutions. If you want to make sure your swimsuit is 100% plastic free, you can also choose a vintage piece that uses buttons or has a looser fit.
I’ve put together this list of brands that make swimsuits using either zero plastic or just a minimal amount of elastic in the bands.
Steer clear of recycled and virgin plastic with these top nearly plastic-free swimwear brands.
When it comes to eco-friendly fabrics, it doesn’t get much better than hemp. Natasha Tonić’s swimwear is made with biodegradable hemp fibers and it’s so comfortable that it can double as day-to-day lingerie or even activewear.
Most people associate wool with winter clothing, but it turns out that if you use it the right way, it’s perfect for the summer too. Outerknown uses 100% merino wool for their sustainable swim trunks for men.
If you’re a fan of the Bohemian look, you’ll love Mamadelta’s unique hand-crafted swimwear. Their suits are crocheted with sustainable fibers meant to keep you looking your best poolside with a clear conscience.
When you think of natural fibers, you naturally think of cotton. Akoia Swim puts that popular fiber to work in their 100% organic cotton swimwear, hand-crocheted on the island of Bali.
You’ve heard of farm-to-table restaurants, but Ambika is dedicated to farm-to-body swimwear. This unique company not only uses natural fibers but chooses fibers from sustainably and humanely raised animals. They hire artisans to spin, dye, and crochet those fibers into beautiful, eco-friendly swimwear.
If you love how neoprene swimwear feels but you don’t love what it does to the planet, look no further. SLO Active, a Kickstarter-funded business, creates swimwear out of a plant-based alternative to neoprene called Yulex Pure. In addition to using sustainable materials, for every item you buy, the company plants a tree to offset the carbon emissions and also makes a donation to ocean-focused charities.
Be sure to check out the limited edition pink collection the brand created in collaboration with my friend and fellow Hawaii resident Alison Teal!
She Made Me
True to the name, She Made Me is a brand that centers around the sustainable practice of handmade craftsmanship. The brand’s swimwear is hand-crocheted by Bali artisans, doing away with the eco-straining methods of mass manufacturing.
While sustainable fibers are important, Reformation knows that the manufacturing process can be just as damaging to the environment. They have put extensive energy into producing their plastic-free swimwear with sustainable practices, operating with complete carbon neutrality since 2015.
Reformation even offers a unique Guppyfriend washing bag. The bag prevents plastic fibers from ending up in the water when you wash clothing that contains plastic.
Looking Stunning in Sustainable Swimwear
Every choice we make affects the world around us. While it can be exhausting to find the best option for everything we buy, it doesn’t have to be. The brands above make it easy with their plastic-free swimwear that also happens to be gorgeous and comfortable.
Find out more about living a sustainable summer by exploring our site.