I’ve talked about our plastic pollution problem before — recent studies have found traces of plastic in tap water and sea salt, FYI. I’ve mentioned all of the ghost gear in our oceans — an estimated 640,000 metric tons of fishing gear are left in our oceans every year. I’ve talked about textile waste — for every U.S. resident approximately 82 pounds of textiles are sent to landfill each year. And I’ve written a tiny bit about the issue of tires in our landfills — about 1 billion tires a year end up in landfills and other illegal dumping sites, and then take thousands of years for a tire to decompose. But never have I found a company that is dealing with all of these issues. That is, until today.
Really testing the limits of the old saying, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure,” Ecoalf is using the latest innovations in recycled fabrics — plastic, old fishing nets, recycled textiles and discarded tires, among other things — to design new and long-lasting products.
And they’re doing it in style.
Madrid-based Ecoalf arose in 2009, after the founder was frustrated with the excessive use of the world’s natural resources and the waste produced by industrialized countries. “Ecoalf symbolizes what I believe the fabrics and products of the new generations should be, a new fashion/lifestyle brand that integrates breakthrough technology to create clothing and accessories made entirely from recycled materials with the same quality, design and technical properties as the best non-recycled products,” says the company’s president and founder, Javier Goyeneche on the company’s website.
The company focusses on three big principles — sustainability, innovation and nonconformism. And you can see this in every aspect of their business, from always using the latest greatest in recycled fabrics, to big name designer collaborations to setting super lofty goals for themselves.
The brand got an early boost from limited-edition products for some very high-profile partners (oh hey, Apple, Barney’s and Gwyneth Paltrow). They’ve also done collaborations with Will.i.am for his company Ekocylce; and Swatch, making an exclusive collection made with 100% recycled fabrics.
And the company shows zero signs of slowing down in 2017. So far this year Ecoalf has launched Upcycling the Oceans Thailand to help remove the waste from the oceans and islands of Phuket, Smaui, Tao, Samed and Napangha; introduced SEAQUAL, a 100% recycled polyester filament made from plastic collected at the bottom of the sea; and a designer collaboration with renowned Spanish designer Sybillia.
And their commitments don’t stop there. While most recycled fabrics commercialized today contain 15-20% recycled materials, Ecoalf clothes use 80-100%. So far Ecohalf has recycled more than 70 million plastic bottles; 80 tons of fishing nets; developed an innovative recycling process for tires that allows Ecoalf to develop products without coagulants, chemicals or adhesives; and created processes to use recycled cotton and recycled wool, reducing the amount of textiles in landfills, reducing environmental and air pollution, and requiring much less water than typical fabric production.