If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — our oceans have a pollution problem. Between the plastic pollution, caused from plastic bottles, straws and all of the other millions of plastic things in our lives and the issues surrounding “ghost fishing” and “ghost gear,” we’ve got a serious predicament on our hands.
And on the off chance that you haven’t read my blog (clearly, by off chance I mean, likelihood), let me give you a quick crash course on the issues:
- According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Americans alone discard more than 30 million tons of plastic a year, with only 8% of it getting recycled.
- Greenpeace estimates that the amount of plastic that is discarded is equal to a garbage truck load of plastic entering our oceans every minute.
- It is estimated that by 2050 our oceans could contain more plastic than fish.
- One of the biggest contributors? Plastic bottles. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that we use 1,500 plastic water bottles every second, and only one out of six of every plastic bottles purchased is recycled — which means that five are thrown away ending up in landfills or the oceans.
- Another big contributor? Plastic bags. Around 240,000 plastic bags are used globally every 10 seconds, according to the Sierra Club, and fewer than 5 percent are recycled.
- According to a 2014 report from World Animal Protection International, an estimated 640,000 metric tons of fishing gear are left in our oceans every year, making discarded fishing nets approximately 10% of the plastic pollution in our oceans.
Where it ends up?
- A lot of discarded plastic and abandoned fishing equipment ends up in landfill or is burned (um, yuck); and A LOT of it ends up in our oceans.
- Ocean debris tends to gather in ocean gyres, the biggest of which being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — the massive patch of marine debris in our ocean that is now visible from space (and growing).
- It’s also ending up in disturbing places like the Arctic Ocean, the Mariana Trench and Henderson Island (a remote, unpopulated island located 3,100 miles away from any population center).
Why is it a problem?
- All the plastic that doesn’t get recycled, never really ever goes away — plastic tends to break down into smaller and smaller pieces.
- Marine life can ingest a lot of the small plastic pieces — it is estimated that fish in the North Pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year; and that 60 percent of all seabird species have eaten pieces of plastic, with that number predicted to increase to 99 percent by 2050.
- Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for food and ingest them, as well.
- Ingesting plastic not only can eventually kill marine life, but it also poisons our food chain.
- Discarded fishing nets also have huge consequences. According to an analysis by World Animal Protection, this discarded fishing gear is so widespread in our oceans that it is killing at least 136,000 seals, sea lions and whales each year. On the west coast of the U.S., the National Marine Fisheries reported that from 2000 to 2012, there was an average of 11 entangled whales per year according to a 2015 report from The Guardian.
- The nets can also drag across the ocean floor and destroy habitats like coral reefs according to NOAA.
But, if I’ve talked about our ocean pollution problem a thousand times, I’ve also talked about companies that are working to help. Needless to say, I think you know where this is going.
Liar the Label is here to help make a dent in all of this plastic pollution. Liar is an Australian based Eco-Label that makes swimwear made from fabric regenerated from fishing nets and plastic bottles.
Started in 2014 by Nisha Abey and Alex Wales, Liar set out to make sustainable fashion fashionable, affordable and long lasting — thus wiping out the need for consumers to buy low quality, unethically made clothing. “A lot of it is about style. People are first and foremost shopping for a design they love,” Abey said in an interview with the Daily Mail, “They love the eco stuff, but if your garment isn’t wearable in the first place, then you’re just creating more waste.”
That’s why their designs are stylish yet timeless, and don’t skimp on the quality. They offer styles that will suit anyone from the ultra-fashionista to the girl who wants to be more active on the beach. With a pretty minimalist color palette paired with a couple classic prints and stripes, the styles are super easy to mix and match.
And, besides being made from recycled plastics, their fabrics have tons of other great qualities, too. The fabric stretches really well (it has two-way stretch), and maintains its shape; its supportive with extra muscle control; it is sun cream, oil and chlorine resistant; and it’s soft and silky to the touch.
All of their garments are designed in Byron Bay, and locally manufactured on the Gold Coast (to reduce their carbon foot print, obvi). They are made ethically in a single factory, which the founder regularly visits to ensure working conditions and safety standards are met.
Liar also donates 10% of their profits from their first collection, Exoskeletion to Marine Conservation and are currently in the process of putting a product take back system into place, where they will offer a discount on future purchase when customers donate their old Liar the Label bikini.