The fashion industry, particularly swimwear, creates a lot of waste. Due to the ever-changing fashion climate, people tend to throw their out of fashion swimsuits. It’s estimated by Wrap UK that 350,000 tonnes of used wearable clothing make its way into our landfills every year. Not only that, but the main material that makes up our cute, fashionable bikinis is plastic. Companies use materials like nylon, polyester and Lycra for their moisture-wicking capabilities, ability to easily stretch and allowance for relatively cheap production. An estimated 65 tonnes of plastic material are generated each year and only 10% of it is being recycled. That’s not a whole lot and the rest is ending up in our landfills and our oceans.

So, what can we do as consumers, to be more ethically responsible and purchase more ethical and sustainable swim and beachwear? Here are five things to bear in mind.

1. Choose a sustainably made fabric.

“When it comes to eco-friendly swimsuits, it’s important to choose the right fabric,” says Clara Callaway, a travel blogger at PhD Kingdom and Thesis Help. The two categories are natural fibres and upcycled fibres. 

Natural fibres

Hemp is the main natural fibre. It’s considered one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics on the market. It takes only ¼ of the water it takes to grow cotton while producing 250% more fibre. Not only that but it’s naturally pest-resistant so there is little need for pesticides. The clothes made from hemp won’t release chemical toxins and they also do not shed microplastics like the polyester alternative. When it comes to its use in swimwear, it’s one of the strongest fabrics and offers amazing UV block.

Upcycled fabrics

These fibres go a step further than being recycled. As they can be repurposed again and again, they are a great tool in the fight to make the fashion industry more circular and less wasteful. These include Econyl, which transforms nylon waste from landfills and oceans, Repreve, which is 100% recycled plastic, mostly post-consumer plastic bottles, and recycled polyester, which creates 75% less COemissions than virgin polyester.

2. Remember to consider how much is being produced

It’s not just about what material your swimsuit is being crafted out of, it’s also about the production footprint. Larger companies churn out more suits and create more energy and emissions waste. When considering buying ethical swimwear, the brand should be considering all aspects, not just the fibres. 

3. Think longevity over quick fashion

Part of the reoccurring problem with the fashion industry is the constantly changing fashion trends. Something may only come into fashion for a season and then fall out of favour. This leads to an unbelievable amount of waste over time, as people just toss out their unfashionable clothing. 

“If you need to buy a new swimsuit, choosing a classic style, that will never go out of fashion is a much more ecologically sound choice” explains Alan Smith, a journalist at Academicbrits and Coursework Help.

4. Choose ethical swimsuit retailers

This is kind of a no-brainer. If you want to find great, sustainable clothing you choose to seek out and find ethical clothing brand stores to shop and make your sustainable purchases. So, why wouldn’t you do the same when choosing beachwear? Brands like Davy J and RubyMoon are all about ethically produced swimwear that looks good. There are many different ethical swimwear brands out there to choose from as sustainability becomes more popular.

5. Ask yourself if you need a new swimsuit

 One of the easiest ways to avoid making waste and becoming more fashionably sustainable is by asking yourself if you really need to make a clothing purchase in the first place. A lot of times we buy new clothes because we want to look good or be fashionable, not because our old clothing has worn out. The same is true about swimsuits. So, the next time you are considering a new stylish bikini, ask yourself if you really need it.

These are 5 easy ways to incorporate sustainable, eco-friendly ideas into your beachwear. It’s important to help minimise our fashion waste and be more considerate when choosing our next swimsuit.

Michael Dehoyos is a business development manager and editor at Britstudent and 1 Day 2 Write. He writes articles on various topics on Write My X.