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Ocean Plastic Gets Recycled for the Runway

POSTED UNDER Beauty & Fashion

This summer, the world’s most popular vacation spot, the ocean, needs your help. Scientists from the nonprofit advocacy group 5 Gyres have estimated that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing nearly 269,000 tons, are currently littered across our oceans. Plastic has been found to leach toxins into our water, threaten marine life and sometimes end up back on our plates in seafood. It’s a bigger problem than many of us realize, but a few innovative companies, including Macy’s partners, are working to change these statistics.

Innovating With Fashion

As a part of our 5-Point Action Plan, Macy’s advocates sustainability and renewability with our vendor partners, associates and customers. This includes promoting eco-friendly products and supporting efforts to clean up the environment. The following Macy’s vendors are just a few that are making strides in recycling beach plastics — from abandoned fishing nets to plastic bottles — and turning them into stylish shoes and apparel.


Adidas has teamed up with a group called Parley for the Oceans to create sustainable running shoes, soccer jerseys and swimsuits made with plastic fibers recovered from the ocean. According to Adidas, approximately 11 plastic bottles are recycled for each pair of Parley shoes they manufacture. Further, their design director said, that with one large fishing net, it’s possible to produce more than 1,000 swimsuits in their new line. Made to help you and the ocean perform at its best, Adidas and Parley plan to continue to develop apparel and make a powerful difference.


In addition to reducing the amount of material used in their shoes, Nike has developed sustainable shoe packaging with partner, Miniwiz. Replacing the traditional shoe box, Nike’s design easily stacks for display and also can be worn as a backpack after purchase. The packaging itself is made entirely of post-consumer waste, including coffee lids and milk containers, and is another “step” in the right direction for recycled apparel.

G-Star RAW & O’Neill

Another notable recycled material company, Bionic Yarn, produces thread and fabric from recovered marine plastics. Over the past few years, it has teamed up with O’Neill and G-Star RAW, both Macy’s partners, to use its yarn in everything from snowboarding jackets to denim jeans to hoodies. According to O’Neill, 200,000 plastic bottles from shorelines were recycled to make the Bionic Yarn used in its 2016 “Blue” spring/summer collection. For our oceans, every bottle makes a difference.

What You Can Do

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s estimated that about 80 percent of marine debris originates as land-based trash. That means you don’t need a commercial ship to help the cause. Be a part of the solution with these five simple ideas:

1. Prevent – Pay attention to how you and those around you treat your local beach or vacation destination. Practice good beach behavior: Reduce the amount of potential trash you bring to the beach, take everything with you when you leave, and set a good example for others.

2. Clean Up – Like our Hawaii associates did on Earth Day, organize a beach cleanup event, or dedicate an hour of your vacation to clean up litter on your own. Every little bit helps.

3. Reuse or Recycle – Even if you don’t live near the ocean, you can reduce the amount of land-based waste. If possible, reuse what you can and recycle the rest.

4. Support Recycled Style – Be an informed associate and consumer. Know and support sustainable brands and apparel, especially those that reuse beach plastics and other post-consumer materials.

5. Spread the Word – A little bit of knowledge goes a long way when it comes to protecting our oceans. Share what you’ve learned with others, and enjoy your next trip to the beach knowing that you’ve made an impact.


What do our beaches and oceans mean to you? Tell us why you think it’s important to protect them.


You also might like:

Ocean Conservation: Why It Matters

Celebrating World Water Day

7 Fast and Easy Green Resolutions

Macy’s Sustainable Packaging Initiative


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