September 4th 2014
Giving materials a second life is an ultimate form of sustainable design. We have been pioneering recycled denim since 2008, resulting in new denim created from worn out G-Star items that is available since the G-Star Spring/ Summer 2014 collection.
Parley for the Oceans and Bionic share G-Star’s mission to transform waste into a unique product. Together, we collaborate in an on-going creative exploration to innovate denim and make an impact against plastic pollution of the oceans. RAW for the Oceans items are made with Bionic yarn created out of plastic waste reclaimed from the sea.
Many sea birds, marine mammals, fish and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement. Plastic also impacts ocean ecosystems and enters the food chain as animals eat it. With the RAW for the Oceans collection we aim to contribute to cleaning the oceans of plastic debris. Each step of the process of turning plastic into a new generation of denim clothes is explained below.
The plastic is collected from shorelines. This is an effective way to prevent plastic from going back into the oceans without the risk of harming marine life with bycatch or other interference in ocean ecosystems. Parley for the Oceans, with support of Bionic and G-Star, will continue to investigate other ways to reclaim plastic from the oceans.
Parley for the Oceans has a network of collection partners around the world. The plastic used for the first RAW for the Oceans is collected by a licensed waste company from shores in Indonesia. Mappings of shorelines around the world have recorded the number of items of waste per km of shoreline to be the highest in Indonesia.
Turning plastic into yarn
Making yarn out of ocean plastic that is suitable for RAW for the Oceans is done by Bionic. This company exclusively uses reclaimed bottles for its yarn. Plastic beverage bottles need to comply with high quality and safety standards and can therefore safely be converted into garments that meet G-Star’s strict requirements on chemical use. The collected ocean plastic that cannot be used for RAW for the Oceans is included in the regular recycle process of the waste company and recycled for other purposes.
To make the yarn, the plastic is first cleaned and chopped up into small pieces. Subsequently, fibres are made (by heating the plastic and pulling it apart) that are spun into yarn. The first RAW for the Oceans collection is made of three different types of Bionic yarn ranging from 35% to 60% recycled plastic. We intend to increase the percentage of reclaimed plastic with each collection.
For the denim styles in the RAW for the Oceans collection a yarn is used with a core that consists of recycled plastic that is wrapped with cotton. This way the look and feel of traditional denim is maintained but with added strength and durability.
For the other garments in the collection (T-shirts, sweats etc.) a yarn is used that consists of a mix of cotton and recycled plastic.
The polyester can be separated from the cotton, making it possible to recycle RAW for the Oceans items after use.
The RAW for the Ocean collection
The final garments are made by our regular supply chain partners. See the factories that make our products in the G-Star Manufacturing Map. In our online shop you can see in which factory each RAW for the Oceans item is produced by clicking on the ‘produced by’ button.
The first collection contains 10 tons of recycled PET plastic bottles collected from the shorelines, which translates into roughly 700.000 bottles.
Today oceans contains 6 times more plastic than sea life. With the first RAW for the Oceans collection we have achieved our primary goal of making denim out of ocean plastic, but we are not finished yet. RAW for the Oceans is an innovative process and we will continue to further improve the RAW for the Oceans collection by increasing the percentage of reclaimed plastic and by investigating the possibility of using sustainable cotton and sustainable dyeing, washing and finishing processes in coming seasons.
With the RAW for the Oceans collection we also support Parley for the Oceans financially in its effort to clean up waters. This investment is used for education and awareness raising to change societies’ mindset towards plastic and to create an understanding for the beauty and fragility of the oceans, for Research & Development for ocean cleanup technologies, for coordination and buildup of local clean-up organisations and for a pilot recycling plant for ocean plastic.
Update July 2016
RAW for the Oceans has been available in stores with four capsule collections between 2014 and 2016. After two years of innovation with the RAW for the Oceans capsule collection we are now ready to make a bigger impact. As of August 2016, RAW for the Oceans will no longer be in store. Instead, we are up scaling from the RAW for the Oceans capsule collection to replacing all conventional polyester in our entire collection with recycled alternatives. We plan to replace all conventional polyester with recycled polyester including Bionic Yarn by 2020.