Creating Clothing Made From Ocean Trash by Pro Surfer Kelly Slater

Fishing Nets Trash in Oceans

If you’ve been following us you know we are all about recycling and doing whatever it takes to reuse & recycle any and all products to help our environment in any way we can. So when we see someone pushing the envelope and finding new ways to use something that is a nuisance and hazard to our environment we are thrilled and want to shout from the rooftops.

There’s this pro surfer dude, Kelly Slater that has come up with the cool idea of using old discarded fishing nets and turning them into clothes! Now that’s thinking outside the box.  He went out and created his own company called Outerknown.

The label features a line of 100 percent recyclable clothing made from reclaimed fishing nets. “I created Outerknown to smash the formula” Slater said. The material his company produces from the fishing nets is called Econyl, a new type of nylon yarn that comes from old discarded nets, carpets and other nylon waste. The brand, Evolution Series includes board shorts and jackets.

if that’s not enough these clothes can be up-cycled over and over again into new clothing. “There are an infinite number of times the nylon can be broken down and re-born into new yarn without the loss of quality,” Outerknown noted on its website.

Figuring out a way to take what is waste and recycling it to create and build a business is cool in its own right but there’s more to the story that makes this business model so great. According to the Marine Mammal Center, abandoned fishing nets, also known as “ghost nets”, account for approximately 10 percent of all marine debris. Would you believe that a staggering 640,000 tons of these discarded nets are added to the oceans yearly? My first thought when I read this was what are the fishermen or whoever is discarding these products thinking of!

Not only are these nets bad in so many way’s to the ocean environment but these nets are a major plague on marine life. More than 100,000 marine mammals, fish, dolphins, sea lions, seals as well as birds die every year from the harmful effects of plastic fishing nets and trash in our oceans.

Slater has been outspoken on the threat of plastic waste for some time now and sits on the advisory board of the Sea Shepherds Conservation Society.

On an interview with CNN Slater had this to say “You have problems like not only oil spills and that kind of stuff but also the constant outpouring of plastics. Single use plastics all through the ocean, degrading, turning into little bits that are all eaten by the sea life, and they’re dying because their stomachs are full of stuff.”

Granted the Outerknown collection is on the pricey side but to produce a truly sustainable clothing line cost a lot more money to bring from the factory to the rack than the normal way of producing clothing. Outerknown has partnered with the Fair Labor Association which is the best standard for protecting workers throughout the supply chain. Additional, the clothing company has partnered with Bluesign, which is a sustainable textile auditing company that seeks to eliminate harmful substances from the beginning of the manufacturing process.

Kelly Slater has taken a really bad situation and figured out a way to turn it into something good. You can’t get much better than that.

Gee, I wonder what other waste is lurking out there that someone could turn into a usable product thus eliminating it from the environment? Any Ideas?

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