Sustainable Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

We’re not sure if swimwear that recycled plastic is truly sustainable. But it’s a start!

By Chere Di Boscio

We’ve written a lot about sustainable swimwear in the past. And we have told you that because the suits we feature are made from recycled materials, they’re better than most brands that use new fabrics.

But then we learned about microplastic pollution.

As you probably know, if you’re wearing any clothing made from polyester, acrylic or any other petrol-based, plasticky material, every time you wash that garment, you’re contributing microfibre pollution to the oceans.

Microfibres are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment plants, so they can end up in our waterways and oceans by the billions. So imagine if you’re literally swimming in the ocean with a swimsuit made of that stuff!

The Problem With Natural Fibres

The truth is, modern swimwear and true sustainability just don’t go hand in hand. Well, that is, unless you’re more into sunbathing than swimming. In that case, no problem. There are some incredible organic cotton and hemp based swimsuits that are perfect for that.

But when you go for a dip – or worse. yet, a dive – there’s a major problem. Those fabrics sag when they get wet. And sometimes, the water makes them so heavy, they just fall off. Oops!

There isn’t a good fabric solution yet for bathing suits that doesn’t result in more plastic in our oceans and landfills. But don’t worry: there’s hope!

Several brands, for example, are using a material called ECONYL®. This is a regenerated nylon fibre developed by global textile manufacturer, Aquafil. They make it out of things like fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic from landfills and oceans all over the world.

That waste is sorted, cleaned, and recycled back to nylon fibre through a regeneration and purification process. It has the potential to be recycled infinitely, which helps create a more circular fashion system.  

How To Wear Swimsuits Sustainably

That being said, if you want your swimwear to be sustainable, it’s really up to you to do two key things:

1) Wash garments by hand with cold water, or

2) if you use a machine, you can use a GuppyFriend. This is a washing bag that protects synthetic garments and reduces the amount of microfibres that may enter the water.

Here are 10 sustainable swimwear brands that are using ECONYL (or better fabrics) that we hope you’ll consider wearing this summer.

Sustainable Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

mara hoffman swim

1. Reformation

This well loved LA based brand is best known for its upcycled deadstock fabric, but their swimsuits are constructed from ECONYL. And now, to make their clothing even more eco-friendly, they’re offering a Guppy Bag with each purchase, yaya!Just pop your suit into it when you wash it, and all microfibres are captured by the bag. Cool!

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Old school style inspired by the 70s and 50s.

Price: $178

reformation swimwear

2. Koru Swimwear

This is one of the first ever ethical swimwear brands we covered in Eluxe, and we still adore Koru! There’s lots to love: they not only make swimwear with a naturally built-in SPF of 50, but they also offer accessories like Buddha beads, wood sunglasses and sun hats.

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Those on a budget.

Price: From $60

Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

3. Mara Hoffman

New York designer Mara Hoffman launched her eponymous label in 2000. And since then, she has been  striving to make the brand as sustainable as possible by crafting each collection in socially responsible conditions, using ethically sourced, vegan and recycled nylon fabrics.

We love her colourfully printed beachwear and feminine silhouettes that are guaranteed to make you stand out on the beach!

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Unique designer pieces that really stand out.

Price: From around $200.

Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

4. Cover Swim

Cover Swim’s swimsuit is cut from the label’s innovative ‘Swim Jersey®’, which is created with recycled fibres to reduce waste. Locally made in Los Angeles, this full-coverage style has moisture-wicking properties to ensure you stay cool and comfortable. But that’s not all! You’ll avoid getting sunburned, as a UPF50+ protection is woven into the fabric.

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Those who seek modest fashion swimwear.

Price: From around $200.

modest swimwear

5. Stella McCartney

As you can imagine, Ms McCartney was something of a pioneer when it comes to using ECONYL. But she doesn’t limit herself to that! She also uses recycled polyamide and regenerated elastane in her designs. Though her swimwear style is usually quite sporty, we kind of fell in love with this embroidered swimsuit, below. So pretty, right?

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Gorgeous high fashion style.

Price: From around $325

Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

6. Faithfull The Brand

If you dare to bare, Faithfull The Brand is for you!

Their teeny bikinis are ethically and locally made in Bali from stretch-ECONYL. As you know by now, this is a fabric regenerated from plastic waste – usually fishing nets.

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Teeny weeny bikinis.

Price: From $120

Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

7. Galamaar

Body positivity and racial inclusivity are big issues for this ethical swimwear brand. We adore how their styles all come in a wide range of sizes and colours to suit any body shape or skin tone.

Whether you’re looking for a comfortable one piece or a daring bikini, you’re bound to find something that perfectly suits you here!

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Inclusivity. Sizes run from XS to XL.

Price: From $120

Swimwear That Recycles Plastic

8. VitaminA

Chic and sexy are the two key words to describe this sustainable swimwear label, which we here at Eluxe have loved for a long time. Unexpected details like sassy straps or peek-a-boo cutouts make the designs from Vitamin A uniquely beautiful.

Not in the market for swimwear? They also make sustainable kaftans, coverup, sandals and more. And did we mention that Vitamin A gives back a portion of proceeds directly to environmental organisations who help to protect our oceans?

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Well structured, sturdy but sexy swimwear.

Price: From $55 for a bottom.

VitaminA swim

9. Le Buns

Driving positive environmental impact is at the heart of this ethical Australian swimwear brand. Every piece is made using only natural, organic and regenerated luxurious fibres, and each garment is thoughtfully designed to enhance the beauty of the natural form and move with you, from on land into the sea.

That’s especially true thanks to the fact that there are various ways to tie and wear these beachy styles. The brand’s website shows you how through quick videos.

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: ​Multiway styles that adapt to your mood.

Price: ​From around $150

LeBuns Swimsuit

10. Ocin

Looking for quick-dry, super soft, 100% recycled and regenerated nylon swimwear? Look no further! Ocin is a sustainable swimwear brand that uses recycled plastic bottles saved from landfill and recycled nylon in its fabrics. We love how the company also works with global social initiatives to clean up and then recycle discarded fishing nets from the oceans.

The resulting materials offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun, which is great! They are also Standard 100 certified by Oeko-Tex, meaning they are free from any harmful chemicals.

But the best part? Their designs are versatile! You can tie the straps in different ways to make different styles.

One of the best sustainable swimwear brands that recycles plastic for: Multifunctional swimwear in monochrome tones.

Price: From $89

Sustainable Swimwear

Chere Di Boscio
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