You’ve ordered one of our new rash guards, made from rPET recycled fishing nets. You’re excited about the fact that your purchase has encouraged the removal of ghost nets from the ocean. But you’re wondering exactly what rPET means, and how buying a UPF 50+ adventure shirt helps clean up plastic pollution. Don’t worry; we can explain!
rPET stands for “Recycled Polyethylene terephthalate” and its first generation — PET —is a highly recyclable plastic often found in plastic bottles, food jars, or spun polyester fabric — like fishing nets. These plastics are sturdy and are originally made from crude oil and natural gas, meaning it is of utmost importance to ensure they are recycled after their first use, instead of discarded.
Unfortunately, despite this imperative, items made of PET wind up in landfills, incinerators, and, even more distressingly, in the ocean. According to recent research, 46% of the plastic in the ocean is abandoned fishing nets — ghost nets — which harm marine life by continuing to fish until long after they have been left behind in the sea. Many of these plastic nets are made of PET, meaning that if recovered, not only would they stop harming marine life, but they they could have a new life of their own as products made of recycled material!
And that’s where our rash guards come in. Divers with the Healthy Seas initiative recover discarded fishing nets from the Adriatic and Nordic seas, which are then processed in a manner that breaks down the original plastic into malleable material that can be turned into into new fabrics. Our rash guards are made of those fabrics!
The PET recycling process not only reduces plastic waste in this way, but it also helps cut down on manufacturing emissions, since the recycling process is less energy-intensive than the process of creating virgin plastic. Ghost net-recovered rPET production reduces marine pollution and cuts down on pollution in the manufacturing process when compared with virgin PET production, making a positive global impact.
A major step in the fight to protect marine life from ghost nets is to create a market for the rPET made from them, and that’s what we hope our rash guards will do — in addition, of course, to protecting you from the sun’s rays and your outdoor adventures! We hope you’ll join us in the movement to encourage the recovery of ghost nets!