Many times a week, I get asked why Fed By Threads has fabrics blended with Recycled Plastic Bottles and Organic Cotton. The simple answer is because we think it is a hoot that used bottles can be repurposed into fabrics! The more sophisticated answer involves landfills and oceans, specifically the Pacific Gyre. Have you heard of it? I hadn't either until our journey into the world of sustainable fabrics lead us to bottle-based clothing materials!
The skinny is this: the Pacific ocean is being assaulted by an army of plastic particles and those soldiers are marching their march in a gyre formation, covering a not-dinky area of the ocean some say is the size of Texas. While we like to think of oceans with pristine beaches, funky sea creatures, thrilling waves, sun-tanned bodies, and a storm or five, the truth of the matter is that plastic has taken up residence in the Pacific, and is sprawling over territory much like man has puked himself through suburban subdivisions encircling the hub of cities.
Winds and tides are causing the plastics and other debris to swirl in a gyre endlessly in what are being called "garbage patches". The plastics break down into particles so small that marine can eat them and thus deliver the toxic plastics into the marine food chain.
The main way we can impact this problem is to reduce the amount of plastic bottles and plastic items in general that we purchase in the first place. Another way is to purchase items that repurpose plastics into other things that you have your eye on. Fed By Threads offers t-shirts, sweatshirts, and beyond made from plastic + organic cotton fabrics, but there are many projects doing incredible things to reuse plastics. So either come visit us online or in Tucson, or find other projects that are doing cool work with existing plastic. But one way or the other, make the choice to think differently about plastic and our oceans. It's time.
-Alok Appadurai is co-founder of Fed By Threads, an environmentalist, a social entrepreneur, a writer, a vegetegan, and a new father. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Photo Credit: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/info/patch.html#5
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