Green Economy

Eco-holidays: How to pack your eco-responsible suitcase

ECO-FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS (3/5) - Fishing nets, plastic bottles, boat sails… Overview of these brands that innovate in eco-friendly textiles that could fill your suitcase for your holidays.

Every minute, the equivalent of a plastic garbage truck is dumped into the ocean.

Every minute, the equivalent of a plastic garbage truck is dumped into the ocean.

What if, to go on vacation, you put your belongings in bags made... out of a boat's sail. This is the idea of ​​the company ''Les toiles du large'' which offers a wide range of bags, duffel bags and shopping bags for the beach designed and manufactured in boat sails that have all sailed. In order to avoid cluttering up the recycling centers Anne Couderc wanted to mix the useful with the sentimental by recovering this non-recyclable material. And thus enhance sails that have sailed, too damaged to continue to brave the sea, to make bags. For 16 years now she has been recycling these fabrics to ''give them a second life'' – “more than 95% is recycled”–, as she likes to say. Each year, ''several thousand m² are treated ". Their origin? The materials are obtained from individuals, yachtsmen, sailors or even small sailing clubs. But Anne Couderc also works with the shipyard of La Ciotat where she obtains professional sails and therefore much more large.

And for the sentimental ones who can't manage to give up their used sails, the founder of "toiles du large" offers to make them a bag in the canvas they donate. The rest of the materials used in the manufacture of the products come from France and Europe. If Anne Couderc signs the design of the bags, the realization is carried out in structures of help by the work (ESAT) of the area of ​​Marseilles. These structures offer people with disabilities professional activities and medico-social and educational support. Adding a social touch to the ecological gesture. Like the "seascapes", other companies are innovating in ecological fabrics, enough to give ideas when packing your suitcase for going on vacation.

A fishing net swimsuit

If you go to the sea, you will obviously have to put a swimsuit in the suitcase (in sailing?). How about a jersey made with fishing nets? A good gesture for the environment since 70% of marine pollution comes from fishing equipment left at the bottom of the oceans, thrown away, or even stuck in the reefs. Therefore, in 2011, Claire Mougenot decided to found ''Luz Collections'': swimsuits and a range of sportswear made with nets, made of polyester and recycled. She works in partnership with several companies that are responsible for recovering them and then remelting them and transforming them into threads. ''We use this new material to directly sew our products.''

An ecological approach that took time to reach the public. ''When we started in 2011, people were not at all sensitive to ecology, they liked our cuts and our colors, it was more for the aesthetics of the product '', explains Claire Mougenot. But since the coronavirus crisis, she has felt a growing enthusiasm and ecological awareness. Indeed in 2020, "Luz Collections" sold 25,000 products, five times more than in 2015. A commitment that helps to fight against the 640,000 tons of fishing nets that end up abandoned at sea each year, according to a study by the UN published in 2019. That is the equivalent of 20,000 garbage trucks, which causes the death of many marine animals who find themselves trapped and killed in what is called “ghost fishing”.

Claire Mougenot has always worked with recycled, organic or upcycled materials, that is to say using the fabric in its entirety, using scraps "to make small collections so as not to waste material". the Ministry of Ecological Transition 600,000 tonnes of textiles, linens and shoes are put on the market in France each year for households, i.e. nearly 10 kilos per year and per inhabitant. are abandoned or thrown away with household waste when they could be either reused or reused if they are in good condition, or recycled if they are damaged. This is why Claire Mougenot has also decided to collaborate with an association: '' give back ''. Customers can deposit clothes of all brands, of all kinds, to recycle them. In order to encourage them, '' anyone who recycles a garment obtains a reduction voucher on Luz's products Glue ctions'', adds the founder of the brand.

The plastic bottle... to make clothes

Fishing nets are not the only culprits of maritime pollution. There are thus 5,000 billion pieces of plastic currently floating in our oceans according to National Geographic . Worldwide, 73% of waste on beaches is indeed plastic: bottles, caps, food packaging, bags… Estimates on the lifespan of plastic range from 450 years to infinity. Céline Rodriguez, therefore, decided with her husband, Daniel, stylist, to found WASTENDSEA, a brand of T-shirts and sweatshirts made from recycled plastic, harvested from the bottom of the oceans. The brand is in collaboration with Sequal Initiative , an association that works with fishermen. When they bring plastics to the surface in their nets, the association recovers them, sorts the waste, cleans them and transforms them into yarn. Which will then be transformed into a textile. "All our clothes are made with this material", explains Céline Rodriguez. The first to market this type of product in France, WASTENDSEA carried out numerous tests. "We realized that the best solution for the product is both comfortable and that it lasts over time it was to put in the T-shirt, 50% of this plastic and 50% of organic cotton.'' On the sweater, the use of plastic is much more complex, Céline tells us, ''we use 25% recycled plastics and 75% organic cotton instead''.

A more resistant fabric, created to last over time insists the co-founder: ''You can wash it as many times as you want it will not move, the material will remain the same.'' For the color, the same. Most often clothes are colored with dye. ''We pass the fiber to the roller'', which impregnates it deeply. You can wash and rewash the garment, the color will not fade. Since 2015, out of nearly 7 billion tonnes of plastic waste produced, only 9% has been recycled. Worldwide, one million plastic bottles are sold every minute.

Encrusted diving suits

And to keep you warm during the cool nights this summer, two sisters are offering sweaters with recycled wetsuits. In 2018 Marie Paillardon and her sister launched their project, an idea from childhood: to recycle the neoprene present in diving, surfing or even sailing suits. This is how ''Téorum'' was born, the first French brand to recycle this material, which Marie Paillardon, one of the founders, deplores: ''We have set up this recycling sector which unfortunately does not exist at all today' hui.'' When the suits are out of order, punctured, bleached or have a torn zipper, they are thrown away and then sent to landfill or incineration. ''Which is extremely bad since these are materials from petrochemicals'' adds Marie Paillardon. ''There was a nonsense because often, water sports practitioners are really attentive to the marine environment and want to protect it and yet their wetsuits are made of materials that are not recyclable at all''. Values ​​that are now shared, since since its creation in 2018, "Téorum" has doubled its turnover each year. Initially ''Téorum'' offered a range of five products, today the brand has grown and has 14 different ones.

The two sisters then decided to give a second life to these combinations by encrusting them in pieces on the elbows and shoulders of their sweaters, and on their T-shirts. To encourage people to bring back their old wetsuits rather than throw them away, “we have set up partnership systems with clubs and specialized brands such as Decathlon or Le Vieux Campeur, so that customers can deposit them all year round. their out-of-use suits'', and are then offered a reduction on the purchase of a new suit in return. The old combinations are then sent directly to Téorum, explains Marie Paillardon. The sisters also make collection tours in associations and clubs, once or twice a year throughout France to collect all the out-of-use suits.

So many brands that seek to develop even more during the summer season to fight against ocean pollution and promote the circular economy . The law of February 10, 2020 , relating to the fight against waste and the circular economy aims to accelerate the change in production and consumption models in order to reduce waste and preserve natural resources, biodiversity and the climate. According to the National Institute of Circular Economy , today 80% of the textiles used in the European Union are not recycled. The cutting of the pieces of each garment generates between 20 and 30% of fabric scraps. If designers rethink the cut of our clothes, they could optimize the use of fabric, or even create zero waste patterns.

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