How to Choose Sustainable Swimwear and Beachwear

When shopping for swimwear and beachwear, look for sustainable materials such as recycled polyester or Econyl, choose brands that prioritize ethical manufacturing and fair labor practices, and consider the end-of-life of the product.

Why it’s important to choose sustainable swimwear and beachwear

Reducing the environmental impact

One of the biggest reasons why you should turn to sustainable swimwear and beachwear is that they help reduce the amount of waste and negative effect on the environment. Traditional swimsuits are made from synthetic materials that do not decompose for thousands of years, which drastically increases landfill size. Additionally, during the manufacturing process of traditional swimwear, toxic chemicals are often used.

Manufacturing process

When traditional swimsuits are produced, large amounts of energy go into making them. This includes using oil in the production process as well as extracting materials like polyester or nylon from non-renewable sources. Synthetic fabrics such as these require significant amounts of energy–both electricity and water–to produce in factories.


Considering how much time it takes for polyester, nylon or other synthetic materials to decompose, when you dispose off your old bathing suit countless pollutants will still be released into both soil and air. Microplastics–which come from shrinking synthetic fibers–can be found all around bodies of water including lakes and oceans.

Promoting fair labor practices

Beyond reducing pollution, there’s a larger issue our society is facing when dealing with clothing production: unfair labor practices. Those who work in developing countries are subject to being paid extremely low wages while working long hours under poor conditions working conditions.

When we support sustainable brands however we also advocate for better wages, safe work environments, as well as enforce worker rights across all areas within that company’s ecosystem.

Supporting eco-friendly brands and innovation

Fortunately enough several companies have shifted towards environmentally friendly options including recycling plastic bottles discarded by consumers who use them instead for producing new products.Encouraging textile manufacturers to engage in circular economy models can make a huge difference to protecting our environment overall.By choosing carefully where you shop means supporting brands (not just within swimming attire) that are leading the way when it comes to creating new, sustainable and ecologically made products.

These are just some of the many reasons why choosing sustainable swimwear can not only help you as an individual feel better about your choices with regards to consumers at large, but make sure that our planet remains healthy for future generations who will be using these spaces long after us.

What is Sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion refers to clothing and accessories that are produced and consumed in an environmentally responsible and socially conscious manner, considering the entire lifecycle of the product. [Wikipedia]

Know your sustainable swimwear fabrics

Sustainable swimwear is a growing trend among conscious consumers who want to reduce their environmental footprint. The fashion industry, including the swimwear sector, is one of the most polluting industries globally. Synthetic fabrics are widely used in swimwear production and have significant negative consequences for the environment.

When it comes to choosing sustainable swimwear and beachwear, understanding the different eco-friendly materials available can be overwhelming.

Recycled materials

Recycling waste materials into new garments is one of the best ways to minimize the environmental impact of fashion manufacturing. Here are some of the recycled materials being used by sustainable swimwear brands:

Plastic bottles

One popular fabric for making eco-friendly swimsuits is made from recycled plastic bottles. The process involves transforming plastic bottles into small fibres which can be woven together to form a fabric similar to polyester.

This type of material is sometimes referred to as rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). It reduces landfill and creates a circular economy where products return for repurpose instead of disposal.

Since 2018, all Adidas’ swimming gear has been made out of recycled plastic waste from oceans, beaches, and remote islands around the world. Not only does this material save energy during production compared with virgin polyester but also avoids unwanted plastics ending up in landfills or polluting our oceans causing harm to marine life leading up towards preserving our ecosystem.

Fishing nets

Another recycled material commonly used in making swimsuits is fishing nets. Brands like Econyl® use regenerated Nylon which captures old fishing nets lost at sea that might otherwise injure or entangle aquatic animals when they get stuck along with other discarded forms of nylon-rich fabrics such as carpet fluff recovered from landfill sites after sorting and processing back into its raw material form- Until 2018, both Adidas and Speedo have used Econyl fabric on their swimwear products along with other sustainable materials.

Organic materials

Organic materials are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Cotton is a popular option for organic swimwear as well as bamboo due to their softness, breathability.

Some of the benefits of using organic material compared to traditional cotton include better soil health, reduced pollution through fewer chemicals used to grow plants in fields making it more eco-friendly also retaining its attractive features such as colour, softness and quality even with excessive exposure to sunlight that would otherwise reduce the lifespan of any other cotton apparel.

Biodegradable materials

The problem with most swimsuits is that they aren’t biodegradable which means they could end up filling landfills for decades or even centuries. Biodegradables break down naturally back into the Earth’s ecosystem within a reasonable amount of time without causing harm to the plant life or animals being exposed to them.

There are new plant-based fabrics available that can be sustainably sourced from Pinatex (pineapple leaf fibre) , Tencel lyocell and Modal (both extracted from wooden pulp). These fabrics decompose much quicker than synthetic alternatives like nylon.

When purchasing sustainable swimwear, consider browsing for brands committed towards upcoming earth positive fashion not just focused on their carbon footprint down but animal welfare and ethics too along with packaging and marketing tactics that are equally sustainable such as staying away from single-use plastic bags or boxes. Together we can make way for an eco-friendlier future without compromising in terms of style.

Look for certifications and eco-labels

Choosing sustainable swimwear and beachwear goes beyond looking for brands that use eco-friendly materials. It’s important to also look for certifications and eco-labels that ensure the products are not only made from sustainable materials, but are also produced in an environmentally conscious manner.

Here are some of the most common certifications and eco-labels to look out for when shopping for sustainable swimwear and beachwear:

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It covers all aspects of production, from harvesting of raw materials to environmental and social criteria. Products that carry the GOTS label must be made with certified organic fibers, without the use of toxic chemicals like pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. The processing factories must also follow strict guidelines on waste management and energy consumption.

When it comes to swimwear specifically, GOTS-certified cotton can be used in some styles such as kaftans or beach cover-ups. As such, it’s worth checking whether your chosen brand offers non-swim options using this certification.


Bluesign is a certification system that focuses on creating safer and more sustainable environments in textile production. Their approach covers five key areas: resource productivity; consumer safety; air emissions; water emissions; occupational health & safety. To become Bluesign-certified, a company must prove its ability to reduce its environmental impact while ensuring the high quality of their final product. In addition, bluesign assures end-customers that certified products have gone through meticulous checks before being released onto market.

For swimwear specifically bluesign does not certify entire bathing suits but instead focuses on specific elements/actions within swim wear manufacture i.e., dyeing processes or fabric dyeing halls etc.


OEKO-TEX is one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. The certification system provides companies in the textile industry with a uniform benchmark to evaluate the safety of their products. The goal is to ensure that products do not contain any dangerous or harmful substances, from the yarn and fabric to the finished product. OEKO-TEX can be applied at several different stages of manufacture, including raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes, and end-products.

When it comes to swimwear specifically OEKO-TEX certifies both external fabrics as well as internal linings/ bag carriers/check straps etc depending on selected certification levels.

Fair Trade Certified

The Fair Trade Certification is dedicated to improving labor conditions all around the world by ensuring trade transparency between buyers and workers. This label serves as an opportunity for socially responsible businesses to benefit from ethical business practices while making a positive difference in people’s lives through commerce. The independant product traceability provided ensures that human rights have been equally respected along with strict mininum wages have being applied .

Although still quite difficult to find, it is possible nowdays due to fairtrade cotton availability which improves number of certified swimwear brands opting towards this option. On swimsuits you may more commonly come across it being listed within tags related products such as beach towels or cover-ups frequently returning a rating tag ranging from Bronze – Gold recognising level of workforce engagement and commitment.

By looking out for these certifications and eco-labels when shopping for sustainable swimwear and beachwear, you’re supporting brands that prioritize environmentally friendly production methods, resource conservation, and safe working environments ensuring that your purchase stands up against social responsibility overall too.

It can be helpful when checking labels of each individual piece in order understand the true environmental message behind specific suppliers considered picked out during your search!

Consider the brand’s environmental mission

In today’s world where climate change is a real and imminent threat, it is becoming increasingly important to make environmentally conscious decisions, including choosing sustainable swimwear and beachwear. When making your decision, consider the brand’s environmental mission in order to ensure that their values align with your own.

Here are some factors that can help you determine if a brand is committed to sustainability:

Transparency in supply chain and production

Look for brands that are transparent about their supply chain and production process. This includes sharing information about where they source their materials from as well as how they manufacture their products. Knowing this information can help you determine whether or not the brand uses sustainable materials and ethical labor practices.

Additionally, some companies go the extra mile by implementing fair trade policies. Seeking out brands that use fair trade practices ensures that everyone involved in the production of the clothing was paid fair wages while experiencing safe working conditions.

Carbon offsetting and emissions reduction

Another aspect of a company’s commitment to sustainability comes from its efforts at carbon offsetting and reducing emissions. Companies often have internal goals for reducing energy consumption throughout their manufacturing processes as well as find ways to reduce waste.

Carbon offsetting involves compensating for greenhouse gas emissions by supporting projects such as renewable energy or reforestation programs which are beneficial to both individual consumers such as us to the planet itself.

Philanthropic efforts

Brands may also choose to support charities or causes dedicated towards promoting environmental sustainability through philanthropic donations These companies realize how interconnected our world can be, allowing them to develop relationships with organizations dedicated towards advancing global sustainability causes

For example: Patagonia donates 1% of its sales revenue toward environmental groups each year since 1985 under what they call ‘Earth Tax’, creating solutions for complex environmental issues while inspiring action on many levels.

Find a good fit that will last

When it comes to sustainable swimwear and beachwear, finding a good fit is essential. Not only does a well-fitting swimsuit or cover-up make you feel comfortable and confident, but a properly fitting item is also less likely to wear out quickly and need to be replaced. Here are some tips for finding a good fit that will last.

Choosing the right size

With so many different swimwear brands and styles on the market, it can be challenging to determine what size you should be wearing. However, getting the right size is crucial if you want your swimwear to last as long as possible. An ill-fitting swimsuit or cover-up can cause damage such as stretched-out fabric or sagging, which will ultimately lead to the item needing replacement sooner rather than later.

To choose the right size for your body type, consider taking measurements of yourself before making a purchase. Most brands offer sizing charts on their websites that give detailed instructions on how to measure yourself in order to find your perfect fit. It’s also worth considering the style of swimwear you are looking for – certain cuts may fit differently than others.

Another tip for selecting the correct size is to read reviews from other customers who have bought the same product. They can often provide insight into whether an item runs large or small.

Durable construction and quality materials

A good fit isn’t just about selecting an appropriately sized item – it’s also important that you choose durable construction and quality materials when shopping for sustainable swimwear and beachwear. Look for items made from fabrics like recycled nylon or polyester which are more resistant to wear-and-tear compared with traditional swimsuit materials.

Well-made bikinis, one-piece suits, beach towels, and cover-ups should have sturdy stitching in addition to double-lined fabric where applicable (for example around areas like busts) helping prolong their lives even further when cared for properly. Be sure to read labels and care instructions carefully when choosing these items.

Adjustable and versatile styles

Another important aspect of choosing a good fit that will last is to select adjustable and versatile styles, which can adapt to your body type over time. These types of swimwear often feature things like adjustable straps or waistbands, allowing for a more customized fit as you need it. They generally have longer lifetimes as they are more adaptable and can be worn for several years rather than just one season, providing great invest value.

When it comes to sustainable beachwear, versatility usually rests on its quality – Items such as neutral-colored loose-fitting linen tops & shorts can layer easily over swimsuits while looking fabulously put together whilst simultaneously protecting you from the sun.

How to care for your sustainable swimwear

Sustainable swimwear is an environment-friendly option that is designed to last longer and have lesser impact on the environment. However, just like any other type of clothing, they also require proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity and functionality. Here are some tips on how to properly care for your sustainable swimwear:

Rinsing after use

After every use, be sure to rinse your swimsuit in cold water. This will help remove any saltwater, pool chemicals or sunscreen residue that may have accumulated on the fabric. Avoid using hot water as this can damage the fabric and cause it to lose elasticity.

Washing instructions

  • Handwash: It is highly recommended to hand wash your sustainable swimwear instead of using a washing machine. The agitation from the machine can damage the delicate fibers of the swimsuit.
  • Gentle detergent: Use a gentle detergent specifically made for delicate fabrics or one recommended by the manufacturer. Avoid using regular laundry detergents as they contain harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric or fade its colors.
  • Cold water: Always use cold water when washing your swimsuit, as hot water can shrink or stretch out the fabric.
  • Soak: Fill a clean sink with enough cold water and a small amount of detergent. Let the swimsuit soak
  • Rinse: Rinse well with cold running water until all soap suds are gone.

It’s worth mentioning that some manufacturers clearly state not even using a gentle detergent but instead rinsing in cool fresh water only.

Drying techniques

After washing, avoid wringing out your swimsuit as this can cause damage to its delicate fibers. Instead, carefully squeeze out excess water without twisting or pulling too hard.

  • Towel dry: Lay a clean towel flat and lay out your swimsuit on top of it. Fold over half of the towel and press down gently to absorb as much water as possible.
  • Air dry: Allow your swimsuit to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. Avoid exposing it directly to sunlight for long periods of time, as this can cause the colors to fade or yellow.

Remember that chlorine is a strong detergent and over exposure can result in perishing and fading of colours as well as loss of shape in the garments themselves.

By following these care tips, you’ll be able to prolong the life of your sustainable swimwear, while also doing your part in helping the environment.

Where to shop for sustainable swimwear and beachwear

As more and more people become aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, the demand for sustainable options continues to grow. This trend has extended beyond streetwear and work clothes to swimwear and beachwear, meaning you can now find a range of stylish options that are also eco-friendly.

If you’re in the market for new swimwear or beachwear and want to prioritize sustainable options, here’s where you should be shopping:

Online retailers

There are plenty of online retailers that specialize in sustainable swimwear and beachwear. Some popular options include:

  • Summersalt – Known for their comfortable one-piece swimsuits made from recycled materials.
  • Sensi Graves Swim – Offers mix-and-match bikinis designed with functionality and sustainability in mind.
  • Reformation – A classic eco-friendly brand that offers a range of sustainable swim styles in fun prints.
  • Vitamin A – Uses sustainable fabrics like ECONYL nylon made from 100% regenerated nylon waste materials.

When shopping with online retailers, make sure to read up on their production practices to make sure they align with your values. It’s also important to check their sizing charts carefully since swimwear often requires a precise fit.

Ethical and sustainable fashion companies

Many ethical and sustainable fashion companies include swimwear lines among their products. If you’re already familiar with some clothing brands whose sustainability initiatives you support, it’s worth checking out if they have any swim-specific offerings.

Some ethical fashion brands known for their eco-friendly swimsuits include:

  • Patagonia – Known for its outdoor clothing, also offers sustainable swimming suits suitable for different water activities like surfing.

  • PrAna – Offers reusable workout gear including sporty upscale swimsuits from utilizing eco-conscious fabric Made using Econyl®

  • Stella McCartney Swim

    Since designer stella Mccartney made a commitment to sustainability with her brand several years ago, this line is built around utilizing sustainable and for their pieces almost specifically designed them from recycled materials.

Shopping with these brands mean you can be confident that all of the clothes you buy are produced sustainably, including beachwear. Plus, if you’re already a fan of the brand for their other offerings, chances are that you’ll love their swimwear too.

Secondhand and vintage options

Finally, don’t forget about secondhand and vintage shopping when it comes to sustainable swimwear. This is an especially great option if you’re looking for unique or retro styles that will stand out by the pool or on the beach.

Here are some places where you might find gently used swimsuits:

  • Thrift stores – Browse through racks of clothing until you find suits that fit.

  • Online thrift stores – Websites like Poshmark or Depop offer tons of gently-used clothing (including swimwear!) at discounted prices.

  • Vintage shops – Discover rare gems at vintage stores in your area.

  • Community Clothing Swaps

    Organize friends or participate in local community swap events which gives opportunity to exchange clothing items with other participants where there may be lightly worn swimsuits being offered as wellWhen buying secondhand swimwear, make sure to try it on carefully before purchase as hygiene requirements should still apply., inspecting towards Damage and wear & tear beyond normal usage especially since water bodies contain chemicals like chlorine which changes over time material. With a diligent checkup though, your hunt might just reward with something utterly irreplaceable.

There has never been more options for sustainable swimwear than what we have now. With online retailers offering dedicated sections to eco-friendly beach fashion and ethical fashion brands including swimming lineup on their product line alternatives purchasing options exist when it comes to Choosing Sustainable Swimwear & BeachWear. Thrift shops also provide a second life of sorts for suits that have held up well over time. By taking the time and intentional actions only shopping with the aforementioned brands or refurbishing/seeking alternate options through secondhand, investing in sustainable swimwear can be an easy and sound eco-friendly fashion choice.

Switching to sustainable swimwear: FAQ’s

Are sustainable swimsuits more expensive?

Sustainable swimwear can have a higher price tag than traditional swimwear because of the use of high-quality, eco-friendly materials and responsible production processes. However, it’s important to note that investing in sustainable swimwear actually saves you money in the long run.

Cheaply made conventional swimsuits often lose their shape and color after a few wears and washes, meaning they need to be replaced frequently. This cycle is not only costly but also contributes to the fast fashion industry’s negative environmental impact.

On the other hand, sustainable swimwear is designed to last longer since it is created with durable and premium materials like recycled polyester, nylon, or organic cotton. Not only do these materials hold up better over time but they are also much better for the planet.

In addition, some brands offer sustainable options at reasonable prices by keeping their operations lean or finding ways to repurpose materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.

So yes, while sustainable swimsuits may require a larger upfront investment than conventional ones, they ultimately save you money through longevity and help protect our planet through ethical production practices.

Can sustainable swimwear be trendy and fashionable?

Absolutely! Sustainable fashion has come a long way in recent years with many brands offering on-trend designs for conscious consumers. From bold prints to classic cuts, there are plenty of stylish options available when it comes to sustainable swimwear.

Additionally, choosing sustainability doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or style. Many eco-friendly fabrics such as ECONYL® (a regenerated nylon fiber) or Tencel™ (a material made from sustainably harvested wood pulp) have a luxurious feel and are able to be used in fashionable designs without compromising ethics.

However, keep in mind that due to the nature of producing clothing responsibly – using eco-friendly materials or making sure workers earn fair wages – there may be limited options compared to fast fashion brands. But this limitation allows customers to truly appreciate their purchases and make sure each item is truly needed and cherished.

What to do with old swimwear?

It can be tempting to throw out old swimwear that has seen better days, but it’s important to consider their environmental impact before tossing them in the trash. Most swimsuits are made of synthetic materials like nylon or polyester, which can take hundreds of years to decompose. In addition, they can release harmful toxins into the environment during decomposition.

Here are some ways you can responsibly dispose of your old swimwear:

  1. Recycle: Some brands offer recycling services for unwanted clothing items including swimwear. Companies like Patagonia accept used clothing through their Worn Wear program, where they repurpose and recycle used garments into new products.

  2. Donate: Consider donating your gently worn swimwear items to thrift stores or organizations that will give them a second life.

  3. DIY projects: Old swimsuits with unique patterns or designs can be repurposed as fabric for DIY projects such as bralettes or hair accessories.

  4. Responsible disposal: If recycling or donating aren’t an option, make sure you dispose of your swimwear properly by checking if there are special waste collection sites in your area designated for synthetic materials like polyester.

By switching to sustainable swimwear, not only are you supporting brands that prioritize ethics and quality craftsmanship but also protecting our planet by reducing waste and pollution. With these FAQs under your belt, you’re ready to make informed decisions when purchasing new beach attire.

Bonus: DIY sustainable swimwear tips and tricks

In addition to purchasing sustainable swimwear, there are other ways you can be eco-conscious when it comes to your beach style. Consider trying these DIY options for a more personalized touch while also being sustainable.

Upcycling and repurposing old clothing

Instead of throwing away an old t-shirt or dress, consider turning it into a swimsuit cover-up or even a bikini top. Upcycling old clothing is a great way to reduce waste and create something new that you will actually use. You could also take this opportunity to add some unique embellishments like fringe, beads, or embroidery.

Sewing your own swimsuit

While sewing your own swimsuit may seem daunting, it’s actually not as difficult as you may think. There are many online tutorials available that can help guide you through the process step-by-step. Not only will you have a completely one-of-a-kind swimsuit, but you’re also able to control the materials used and ensure they’re eco-friendly.

When choosing fabric for your handmade swimsuit, look for recycled nylon or polyester instead of traditional synthetic materials that can take hundreds of years to biodegrade in landfills. Another option is using organic cotton or bamboo which are both sustainable options.

Here are some basic supplies needed:

  • Fabric
  • Swimsuit pattern
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Elastic

Natural dyeing techniques

If you want to add some color to your swimsuits without harming nature with harsh chemicals, try natural dyeing techniques using items from your kitchen such as beetroot, turmeric, avocado pits and onion skins. This method will not only leave behind gorgeous colours but also keep synthetic dyes out of waterways where they cause significant damage because of their toxic chemicals.

To start natural dyeing follow these steps:

  1. Choose your fabric material.
  2. Gather your dye materials, this can be anything from beetroot to onions.
  3. Fill a pot with water and bring it to the boil.
  4. Immerse the fabric in the boiling water and let it simmer for 1-2 hours
  5. Add your natural dye materials into the pot. Bring back to boil then lower heat and let it simmer for a few hours until you get desired colour intensity.
  6. Rinse off in cold water.

Natural dyeing could be a bit messy but with some patience, time and care, you’ll have beautiful additions to your sustainable swimwear collection.

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