Helping our oceans
Coast Radar is all about helping people enjoy our beautiful and diverse UK coastline, but we started to see how clothing was causing a problem and sometimes people ask us why we are so passionate about the issue. Perhaps because it’s so hard to picture just what role the fast fashion industry plays in our climate crisis, after all, CO2 is invisible. But these emissions are caused by the way stuff is made, and in the traditional fashion industry 60% of clothes are made from plastic and most are made using fossil fuels. If nothing changes in how clothing is made or the buying habits of the consumer, the total carbon footprint of clothing will grow to an unacceptable level.
But now if you think about this 60% figure of clothes made have plastic then washing these clothes becomes a big invisible problem to our oceans and food chain.
Washing of plastic-based textiles such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic releases 500,000 tons of plastic microfibers into the ocean each year according to a 2020 study by World Economic Forum. That’s the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles in weight but each tiny fibre is small enough to be absorbed by plankton and bioaccumulates up into our food chains. Overall, microplastics are estimated to compose up to 31% of plastic pollution in the ocean. So it is not surprising that pumping mountains of synthetic waste out leads to negative effects on nature.
The problem is that we are dependent on nature’s biological systems to survive, and the rapid build-up of pollution in our oceans like carbon in our atmosphere is a big threat to our future and in particular our food chain.
This seems pretty insane to us, and it’s why we choose to make products from natural organic materials using renewable energy, delivered in plastic-free packaging, and instead of sending products to landfill return them back to us to be remade. That is what a circular fashion economy looks like, and because of the choices we made when choosing our supply chain, every product in our collection is designed in this way.
But it can’t be just about the producers, another factor adding to the problem is the way people purchase clothes. This has changed in the last decade and today the number of times a single item is worn before being thrown away is a big issue. This is the reason we have cheap fast fashion in that consumers ask for it and as discussed above washing plastic-based fashion is a major problem that needs sorting out.
We believe that the purchaser needs to take positive actions to address this problem, yes sustainable fashion can be more expensive but not when you factor in the better quality and include the cost of plastic-based fashion to our oceans and climate. There are many ways you can offset this cost, at Coast Radar we sell ranges made from recycled cotton and give store credit when you return our items for recycling and there are other companies driving recycling rather than throwing away with apps like Vinted and sites like ebay.
We hope that’s something you feel is worth supporting, to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. All we ask is just to think about our oceans and climate before purchasing plastic-based clothing.