If you travel anywhere around the world, it's hard to find people that value the environment more than those who choose to spend their free time in the ocean.
Surfers, swimmers and all-round beach bums typically have a genuine interest in preserving the natural environment, and it's not hard to figure out why. It's becoming increasingly hard to ignore that the oceans are filling up with plastic - but luckily a lot of that plastic can be reborn. In fact, a lot of that plastic can be turned into clothing that we need to wear in the ocean anyway.
Global surfwear brand Volcom has recently partnered with 'Repreve' to release a new range of 'Mod-Tech' boardshorts made from recycled PET bottles, as part of a move towards greater environmental sustainability.
In the last 8 years alone, Repreve have recycled over 4 billlion plastic bottles.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Volcom's eco-partner 'Repreve' is an American company that recycles plastic bottles and turns them into a high quality blended fabric, very similar to polyester. Making boardies from this recycled fabric requires 50% less energy than creating brand new fabric - and each pair of Mod-Tech boardies prevents 5 plastic bottles from clogging up the oceans and landfill.
But are the boardies any good? I mean, it's great to make an eco-friendly alternative, but if they're not comfortable to wear, or just generally don't serve the purpose of a pair of boardshorts, it's not really going to work. Well the good news is that by all accounts, they're awesome. In fact, many people have already said they're more comfortable than their old boardies:
As a surfboard shaper in Hawaii I purchase the best boardshorts. The Volcom men's Mod-Tech pro has insane stretch and a durable but light fabric. I really like the angled pocket on the side. These are my current favourite pair of board shorts.
- Reidsurfboards (Via swimoutlet.com)
The recycled fabric is comfortable and stretchy, breathes well and doesn't cling to your skin when it gets wet. It also dries really quickly (like, really quickly) so that when you get out of the water, you're ready to roll. Some men have even said they wear them during hot yoga classes (which hadn't even crossed my mind, but now I think about it - they're perfect)
So really, it sounds like there's no downside at all, and by purchasing clothing made from recycled materials, you're moving things in the right direction.
Volcom have had an increasing environmental focus within their company since 2005, and have plans to keep improving their environmental and social standards. By 2020 they plan to be using 20% organic/recycled materials in their production, as well as starting a 'Close The Loop' program, in which the majority of Volcom products can be returned at the end of their life cycle and either re-used or re-cycled.
It's great to see global companies setting new standards for environmental and social sustainability. Based on the amount of plastic that is piling up in the ocean - we have a lot of work to do.
The Volcom Mod-Tec shorts are available in Australia from $36. Visit www.volcom.com.au for more information.
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- Matthew, Founder of Greenlife.