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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Plasticizing Swimwear

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Daily News of Open Water Swimming ran an article about José María Figueres, Co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission and former President of Costa Rica, who wore both a suit and sunglasses made from plastic waste (see here).

The question was asked, "If Waste2Wear can make men's suits, school uniform and work clothing out of marine debris (i.e., plastic waste in the ocean), then can swimsuits also be made?".

Doug Woodring of Ocean Recovery Alliance answered in the affirmative. "Yes, the manufacture of swimsuits made from plastic waste is definitely possible as long as an order reaches the minimum of 1000 meters. Because the swimsuits use only a small amount of fabric, the number of actual swimsuits becomes a bit large.

For example, 1,000 meters of fabric will make about 3,000 swimming briefs or 2,000 jammers. The fabric would be 87% rPET (recycled polyethylene terephtalate) that comes from plastic that has already been used for packaging, such as the plastic bottles. This plastic is sorted, cleaned and transformed so that it can be reused as a food product and approved by federal authorities

The rest of the material is Spandex that is the same synthetic fiber as is used in Speedos but is recycled.

Alternatively, there is another fabric that is 100% rPET and is currently used for surfing shorts. It can also be used for swimsuits made from completely recycled plastic.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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