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Sustainable Swimwear: What is Recycled Nylon?

Kaiona Swimwear is a small Hawaii bikini brand that focuses on slow fashion to create affordable bathing suits with a purpose. Our brand helps fight the world's pollution problem by taking old plastic, and making it into comfy, moveable, sustainable swimwear. We see the importance of making smart, conscious decisions to help our earth, and believe in giving people the opportunity to own clothing made ethically and from a material that is actually making a difference! 

What is recycled nylon made of?

Understanding what you are buying, and what it’s made of is an important step to becoming more earth-friendly. Most clothing, from shoes to swimsuits, includes some sort of plastic material, which eventually ends up in our oceans or landfills. Nylon is the most present material in swimwear, tights, and stockings, and is also one of the biggest polluters. To understand how recycled nylon is changing the game, you first need to understand how virgin nylon is made. Nylon is essentially a plastic and is a synthetic material made from crude oil. Nylon was the first fabric made entirely in a lab and is derived from petroleum. Because nylon is so widely used, it represents 10% of the debris in the ocean, most commonly presented as fishing gear, particularly nets. It also fills the world's landfills, having a lifespan of up to 40 years. Yes that is right! The nylon that was in your baby clothes, is probably still sitting in a landfill somewhere, and will be there for at least half of your life. On top of being one of the worlds biggest polluters, creating Nylon is an energy intensive process that sends a huge amount of CO2 emissions into the air. 

The upside of it all - recycling

 Luckily, the seemingly never degrading material can be reduced, recreated, and recycled over and over again! Recycled nylon is exactly what it sounds like. It is nylon and other plastic waste that has been broken down and turned into recycled fabric yarn. This material usually comes from pre-consumer fabric waste and materials like fishing nets, carpets, plastic bottles, and industrial plastic. Recycled nylon allows ocean plastic that can harm wildlife to go from waste to wear. It diverts materials from landfills and the ocean, and uses much less water, energy, and fossil fuel resources to make! Plus, the fabric can be broken down and recreated over and over without ever losing its quality, which allows for longer usage. The creation of recycled nylon over virgin nylon reduces the amount of oil and CO2 emissions by 80%. It also reduces the amount of soil, air, and water contamination which the fast fashion industry often ignores.

Eco swimwear lifecycle graphic

Plastic, plastic, and more plastic

Most people do not understand just how badly the production of plastic impacts our earth, that most items contain plastic, and how harmful it is to make. Luckily, Kaiona Swimwear does and we want to spread the word! Three hundred million tons of plastic are being produced every year. That number is incomprehensible. It is estimated that only 11% of this plastic actually gets recycled. Swimwear is typically made out of a combination of nylon and Spandex (also called elastane or Lycra), and both are petroleum based synthetic fabrics. Roughly 65 million tons of new plastic materials are produced every year just for the making of swimsuits.

How eco swimwear is helping the plastic problem

There is no good way to get rid of plastic once it is made. Many countries have tried burning it, but that releases carbon emissions since it is made from fossil fuels. Recycling and eco swimwear is not the answer to the global plastic crisis, but it’s a start. We must all find ways to reduce (and hopefully fully eliminate) plastic in our lives and lower our carbon footprint. Recycling the plastic that is already created is a good first step.

Kaiona Swimwear takes plastic trash and makes it into something beautiful. We use ECONYL® regenerated nylon, which starts as waste before being stripped down, turned into recycled yarn, and then sewn into your bikini. Instead of letting waste continue to build up in landfills, waterways, and oceans, we are taking those old plastic materials away from the ecosystems they are harming, and giving them a new life. Between 4-12 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, do you know how many bikinis that can make? Kaiona Swimwear is taking the necessary steps to lessen our environmental impact so you can feel good about what you put on your body. We believe in mālama ‘āina, the Hawaiian concept of caring for and living in harmony with the land. An estimated 91% of plastic is not recycled, and we're trying to change that! If you want to be part of the movement and make a difference in the plastic problem, supporting eco-friendly brands is the way to go! Kaiona Swimwear is choosing to stand with mother earth and would love for you to stand beside us.

Learn more about our sustainable bikinis, recycled fabric, ethical manufacturing, and plastic-free packaging on the Kaiona Swimwear website.

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