Living in tropical Queensland, Australia, one of the biggest luxuries we have and one of the seven wonders of the world, is the stunning Great Barrier Reef which starts at the tip of the Cape York Peninsula and extends 2300kms down to Bundaberg.
After seeing hundreds of stunning photos of the reef and its wildlife we decided to book a snorkelling trip up to Cairns to see this wonder in all its glory and tick it of the bucket list. After cruising through crystal clear waters for several hours out to the middle of the ocean we all jumped over board to take a closer look.
Within minutes we were lucky enough to spot a beautiful turtle enjoying a swim in its natural habitat. It wasn’t until we got a little closer that we noticed the turtle had something in its mouth, he was eating a plastic bag. Tragically, this is not an uncommon site and fortunately our tour guide was able to assist and remove the object from the turtle’s mouth. He explained that turtles regularly mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and ingesting just one bag can cause death. Not only is ingesting plastic a growing concern, turtles and many marine mammals become trapped in fishing nets leading them to drown or preventing them escaping predators.
Although stunning, what we witnessed firsthand out on the reef was a serious wakeup call and this wakeup call prompted us to question…what can we do to help save the reef and the marina mammals that call it home.
“FAST FACTS: 381 million tons of plastic were produced in 2017. and yet only 9% of all the worlds plastic has ever been recycled. 1 million marine animals are killed annually due to entanglement and ingestion and now reports are saying that 70% of all fish have ingested plastic...and we ingest fish... we’re slowly poisoning ourselves and our future.”
Hearing and seeing the damage plastics and fishing nets were causing we decided to research ways we could help save our reef and better the environment by using regenerated fabrics from old fishing nets and landfill to make our garments. We also made a conscious decision to cut all single use plastics from production.
As a brand we work with advancements in recycled materials, using Econyl® a 100% recycled yarn that is created through a regeneration process, taking nylon waste from landfill and fishing nets and recycling it back into a form that can be used in clothing and interiors. Due to nylon being virtually indestructible once it has been discarded it is predicted that it could entangle marine wildlife for up to 5000 years making this regenerating process critical in saving our oceans.
There are two different methods in which these fishing nets are collected, nets coming from aquaculture and fish industries as well as ghost fishing nets which is what is referred to when divers retrieve fishing nets and lost equipment that is dumped or abandoned into our ocean.
We are taking every opportunity to reduce our environmental and social impact and ensure we use using eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes, fully biodegradable cassava starch packaging and home compostable, zero waste mailers.
We have also chosen to partner with a production facility which provides workers and their families with free medical insurance, regular health checks, 13 months salary and salary double to minimum wage. The factory generously donates to Bali Street Mums, supporting the welfare and education of Bali women and children.
The demand for new products is infinite, unfortunately the planets resources are not. By using and shopping regenerated nylon we can all help close this loop. We can create new products that can be recycled, recreated and remoulded time and time again. Together we can all help better the environment.