Recycled fashion – giving materials a second chance at life
We all do it, or at least most of us try. At the very least, we all should. Recycling is one of those things that, like flossing or being diligent with our taxes, we know belongs on the “must-do” list. But this philosophy doesn't only apply to shampoo bottles and almond-milk cartons – recycling, when done right, is a way to make fashion a little bit kinder to the planet.
Case in point: fishing nets. While we are all dropping plastic straws and opting for the more saintly paper version, the truth is that fishing is a much bigger threat to marine life than straws could ever be: making up 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, abandoned and discarded fishing gear is harming marine life and threatening ecosystems. Marine animals eat plastic particles, which then also end up in the human food system. The most effective thing we can do to end this destruction is to stop eating fish. The second most effective? Harness that plastic pollution and give it a second chance at life. Which is exactly what some material innovation companies are doing.
Our MJ-O collection is crafted from recycled nylon made with abandoned “ghost gear”, which is what abandoned fishing tools are often called. But that's not the only way Miomojo uses recycled materials to help the environment and make vegan fashion.
Polyester is the most frequently used material in fashion – and also one of its biggest polluters. This petroleum-derived material doesn't biodegrade, and its production is highly toxic. Using virgin polyester goes against our slow-fashion philosophy, but it cannot be denied that enormous quantities of polyester is currently in circulation, and discarding it would be even more harmful to the environment. So, once again, recycling comes to the rescue.
Using Recycled-PET, or recycled PET plastic, allows us to remove plastic waste from landfill and the oceans, and reimagine it as fashion. After being cleaned, the materials are ground down and melted together, to be woven into the textile that will produce one of our bags.
These resistant materials perform just as well as virgin polyester - but their impact on the environment is much smaller. The use of Recycled-PET requires 86% less water, consumes 70% less energy and emits 75% fewer greenhouse gases than conventional, virgin polyester.
Last but not least, RE-PU (recycled polyurethane) is another material that has a starring role in our collections. This durable textile is made from 60% post-consumer recycled polyester and pre-consumer upcycled waste. Once again, using the materials already in circulation and giving them a new life keeps the textiles from ending up in landfill - as well as lower the demand for virgin polyester and polyurethane.
Will recycling solve fashion's waste problems on its own? Probably not. However, it is a step in the right direction - one that has its place in the fashion industry of the future, alongside more mindful consumption, kinder production practices, and avoiding animal products.