Ecoalf makes clothes from ocean waste

If you’ve already watched Seaspiracy on Netflix you know our oceans are not doing well: Overfishing is a big problem, and besides that, our oceans are turning into a plastic soup. Did you know that ghost fishing nets make up 46% of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Switching to a plant-based diet is the best thing you can do to help restore our oceans, but unfortunately, it’s not realistic to think that everyone will ditch seafood for dinner.

Upcycle Ocean plastic
Ecoalf has found a way to upcycle some of the most harmful trash on Earth. Instead of banning the fishing industry for being such a big part of the problem, Ecoalf works together with thousands of fishermen to create awareness to help solve this problem. Together they take old fishing nets – along with tons of other discarded plastic items – out of the ocean to create recycled nylon. It also uses secondhand cotton and has even found a way to repurpose recycled tires for the bases of flip-flops. These materials save oodles of energy and water and save animals’ lives.

Ecoalf by Blanca Padilla

I really like the minimalistic look and oversized fit of the clothes. They combine recycled cotton with organic cotton to create a very soft fabric.

Because there is no Planet B – Ecoalf

Sportswear from recycled materials
Besides their eco-friendly clothes and shoes, Ecoalf produces a beautiful collection of sportswear, made from recycled plastic waste. Opinions are divided about how sustainable it is to recycle plastic waste into clothing because these garments contain microfibres that will end up in our environment. For me, as long as there’s no better alternative – I think it’s better to fish that plastic out of the oceans and reuse it. Do you want to know how you can fight plastic pollution whilst doing your laundry? Check out this earlier blog.

Tops and leggings by EcoAlf
Because there is no planet B, Ecoalf

Bigger goal
But wait… We mentioned Seaspiracy earlier, and now we’re promoting a brand that works together with that same polluting industry? This can be a bit confusing. We always aim for the most sustainable option and tell you to vote with your wallet. In an ideal world with healthy oceans and a minimum consumption of fish, we would not need Ecoalf. But we don’t live in that world right now. And if we look at the bigger picture, by working together with the fishing industry, Ecoalf can have a huge impact. They create awareness among fishermen, who now understand that their waste has value. On top of this, it would be very inefficient to send other ship to go fishing for plastic waste.
When I started writing this article, I struggled with the right angle. I’m living a plant-based life and and I’m not digging the idea that my shoes contribute to the ravages of the fishing industry. On the other hand, it’s not a black and white matter. We have to keep the bigger goal in mind and that is the positive impact Ecoalf has on the health of our oceans. And I hope that very soon in the future we will catch more plastic than fish!

We would love to know how you think about these kinds of decisions. Do your morals also clash sometimes?

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