Reinterpreting circular economy: A Zurich-based company brings plastic from the water into the water. This summer, one can bath in swimwear made from collected and recycled PET bottles.
DATA & FACTS
Collection and recycling of PET bottles that fell out of the circular economy
In the market
Processing of PET bottles fished from the river
The founder of the label Round Rivers, a qualified architect, is now designing swimwear instead of buildings: with his company he turns PET bottles from the river into sustainable swimsuits and shorts. The source is crucial here, because PET bottles only become a problem when they escape the usually functioning recycling cycle and end up in the environment. As only transparent bottles allow an even coloring, not every PET bottle is suitable for processing. If collected, colored bottles are recycled. The availability of the collection therefore depends on the number of bottles fished. At the moment this number amounts to 6,000 bottles, turned into around 1,500 swimsuits and swim pants.
Instead of just being climate neutral, the production of PET swimwear is likely to be CO2 positive. The production leaves a - minimally smaller - CO2 footprint than their incineration would. This positive balance can also be attributed to the small production radius: The PET bottles are fished from the Limmat in Zurich, shredded in Frauenfeld, spun into yarn in Ticino and processed into swimwear in Varese - that makes a radius of only 140 kilometers.
Addition of elastane
There is one catch in the company's production chain: swimsuits and bikinis get their necessary elasticity only by adding elastane. However, this cannot be obtained from PET and is purchased from suppliers during production. Round Rivers swimsuits and bikinis therefore contain 20% elastane, but the swim shorts are made from 100% recycled PET.