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Because There is no Planet B

I’ve just discovered a new brand and I’m very excited about it. Why? Because not only do they make clothing and shoes from recycled materials, but they have recently released a line of shoes specifically crafted from plastic retrieved from the ocean. How good is that?

The brand I’m talking about is Ecoalf, and the title of this blog post is their slogan. In a project that has been named ‘Upcycling the Oceans’, the Spanish fashion brand has pioneered a series of manufacturing techniques to turn the very dross of the ocean into comfortable, wearable footwear. And I have to say, that it’s really rather fancy stuff!

The thing I like about this is that the brand doesn’t need to shout about what it’s doing; the clothing and shoes don’t have a huge logo indicating that it’s all made from recycled stuff – not just ocean plastic, but regenerated cotton, recycled fishing nets, old car tyres – it passes perfectly well as high-end high street. The clothes ooze quality and it all looks comfortable, so anyone of any disposition -environmentally aware, or otherwise – could wear it.

It’s things like this that business should look to. I spend my days trying to persuade people to use less plastic. Both in my work with MIW, where we advocate bottle fillers at every opportunity, and with my involvement in the #OneLess campaign. The company has even donated bottle refill stations to the London Mayor’s project to reduce plastic in the city by providing places to access free drinking water. And I know that now many other companies are taking a similar stance, trying to cut back on plastic waste. But that doesn’t solve the whole problem.

Plastic will still be produced, try as we might to cut it back. Companies like Ecoalf are finding ways to keep what plastic is still made from ending its days either in 500 years of landfill, or polluting our waterways and killing our marine life. And they’ve a big job, as it’s estimated that as much as 12.7 million tonnes of plastic currently enters the ocean every year.

If more of us take action to reduce plastic, and more money is invested in finding ways to reuse, and reuse and reuse the plastic that is created, THEN we might find a healthier planet for our future.

It could be exciting, this collaboration. It could be good for everyone. And it could produce some fabulous innovations. So, this is me, saying ‘you can do anything, but lay off of my ocean waste shoes’ because there is no planet B.