Over 700,000 tons of lost fishing gear — ghost nets — foul the ocean each year, presenting a hazard to marine life from invertebrates to large marine mammals. To help tackle this problem and in honor of World Oceans Day this past June 8th, Fourth Element launched OceanPositive, a line of swimwear and rashguards made using recycled marine waste.
OceanPositive swimwear and hydroskin rashguards are made using recycled nylon from nets that fishing vessels abandoned after they snagged on reef, a wreck or some other marine structure.
Dive teams from the Ghost Fishing Project are “harvesting” these nets, removing them from the sea, and bringing them back to port, after which the nets are collected, recycled and spun into nylon yarn. Fourth Element uses fabric made from this yarn, combined with Lycra, to make a line of active swimwear.
“This is a fantastic idea, [one which] demonstrates what we can, and should, do for the oceans,” says Dr. Sylvia Earle, ocean advocate and figurehead of Mission Blue.
“The OceanPositive range is a statement of what we feel is our responsibility to protect the environment which we love, and we believe we should protect,” says Jim Standing, co-founder of Fourth Element. “It is part of a strategy that has seen us adopt more environmentally responsible policies including recycling old neoprene and changing our packaging to reduce single-use plastic, favoring reusable or recyclable solutions.”
“We also wanted to address a requirement of divers for great looking products that are also practical. Some bikini styles have no clasps; others have a single clasp or tie to as be more comfortable under a wetsuit.”
Ocean Positive will be in stores late summer 2015.