Finding a nice waterproof jacket that is not made of polyester can be quite the struggle, to say the least. So how do we keep dry in those rainy days that plague the UK every so often (A.K.A. every couple of hours) without wrapping ourselves in eco-disastrous plastics? Over at Ecoalf, they thought of the solution. From waterproof jackets for women (made completely from recycled materials) to stylish jackets for men (made from leftover coffee pulp); as long as it’s as eco-friendly as it is stylish, Ecoalf has it made for you.
A frustrated friend of the earth and its oceans, Ecoalf founder Javier Goyeneche decided to take some matters into his own hands and created the eco-friendly company in 2009. With the goal of eliminating at least some of the unconscious (and often unnecessary) consumption of natural resources, he set of on a mission to design and create high-quality clothes and accessories made entirely from recycled materials.
(Upcycling the Oceans video)
After a successful launch, Ecoalf continues to improve on its own sustainability, all the while keeping us all accountable to do the same. In 2015, they embarked on their first “Upcycling the Oceans” project, recovering much of the trash that was haunting the bottom of the ocean right off the shore of Levante, Spain. The project was successful, and in 2017 it has been repeated in Southeast Thailand. The recovered trash is used to create the high-quality yarn that builds Ecoalf’s sustainable and durable products.
About the fishing nets – what makes this jacket eco-friendly?
If you like the ocean (which, if you like to breathe air, you should), you are probably as allergic to all things plastic as we are. Knowing that almost every piece of plastic that is bought, consumed, and disposed of unconsciously will end up endangering our beloved blue planet and all its inhabitants is not good news, to put it lightly.
What you may not know yet, is that besides the 8 million tons of plastic we drop in the ocean every year, our aquatic friends are facing another problem: ghost nets.
Every couple of years, fishermen will replace their nylon nets for new ones, and sadly these now-useless nets often end up floating around aimlessly in our oceans. Since these nets are specifically designed to be as invisible as possible to oceanic wildlife, many animals get entangled in the nets. And even if the animals are lucky enough to escape them, the nets will often get caught on coral reefs and destroy entire ecosystems while moving with the currents of the water.
The brainpower behind Ecoalf saw this problem, and acted on it. Although recovering ghost nets from the ocean is expensive and takes a lot of time, Ecoalf and team still make the effort and turn those dangerous nets into a high-quality yarn, which will then be woven into stylish jackets for us to enjoy.
This act of ridding the ocean of ghost nets will not only help saving many dolphin-, turtle-, and coral lives, it also saves on water- and energy costs for the clothes production when compared to creating the yarn from scratch. That means less suffering in the ocean, and less wasted resources. We thought that was pretty eco, and incredibly friendly.
Compared to conventional waterproof jackets
Although we would personally not opt for a polyester (see why we don’t like it)…anything, after doing some research the reason for choosing a recycled outdoor jacket became even more crystal clear to us.
First of all, almost any and all other rain jackets that you can order from the UK are made from 100% polyester. Nothing recycled, no sustainable materials, just polluting plastics from start to finish produced especially for our rain evasion. The polyester jackets are often sold incredibly cheap, which makes us wonder about the quality and durability…
To give you an example of this laughable quality, let us tell you about a popular waterproof ladies jacket available in the UK: a waxed hooded raincoat from LaRedoute. Not only are the outside and linings of this jacket made from 100% polyester, the raincoat is not to be washed with water… Now, that does make you wonder how the jacket will hold up after a day or two in the rain, and also how to keep your jacket completely clean forever since it cannot be washed with water, nor dry-cleaned… Not exactly a sustainable purchase, in any sense.
And what will happen to all those low-quality polyester jackets when they undoubtedly fail to keep out the rain after a couple of months? They will end up in the trash, and add to our already quite serious plastic pollution problem.
For us, it’s clear: buying a high-quality, durable, waterproof raincoat made from recycled fishnet will not only keep you dry and cosy for a longer time, it will also help clean up some of the mess plastic makes in our world, instead of contributing to it. So if you would like to save a turtle, make Sylvia Earle proud, and still not get soaked in the English rains, opt for a recycled fishnet jacket.