Been a week of strong wind, big tides and going up rivers to the source of plastic pollution entering the water on a daily basis. Whilst I sift through a couple of dispatches, I also spoke to the guys at Riz Boardshorts, only a quick chat which will hopefully develop into a bit more around the plastic project. In case you don’t know these guys they have been making apparel for a couple of years now and have an active recycling scheme. What is more of interest to The Plastic Project at the moment though is their current funding campaign to allow them to recycle plastic bottles and plastic washed up on beaches into boardies.
I had a little chat with them below, have a read, watch the vid and get over to their campaign page here – RIZ – and back them, there is only four days to go for this really exciting project.
I have no idea how you could turn a plastic bottle into a pair of shorts, is this something you’re going to develop yourself, or is it a process you are going to modify? At the moment we use fabric which is made from standard recycled plastic bottles – these are broken down into pellets then woven into fabric that becomes textiles and ultimately shorts. It takes about 20 bottles to make 1 pair of shorts. The key question with ocean plastics will be what percentage of the plastics found on beaches can actually be recycled. Second question will be how much cleaning is required to get them to a state where they are recyclable.
How much plastic do you actually need to create a board short, and is it anything we see from a water bottle to fairy liquid bottle to fishing crate? It’s 20 bottles to a pair of boardshorts. The fabric we use at the moment would use any bottle which can be put into your recycling bag. In terms of beach waste, this is an unknown which we will be starting to answer at the meeting next week. We will be working with the recycling industry to work out which plastics found on the beaches can go into the recycling process to make textiles. It may be that some of them will work for textiles but that we need to find other markets for other plastics.
I’m asking this because I actually don’t know, but are you turning the plastic in the bottles into polyester, or will it be a different material, in which case what will that feel like? We are expecting the bottles to be turned into polyester and would expect, though we don’t know, that the it will have the same feel as our current recycled fabric. But that is very much unknown at the moment!
It’s a really interesting project that deserves backing, and I hope it becomes one of the answers to recycling marine litter and plastic in general.