Home » Making a Splash with Sustainability: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Swimwear

Making a Splash with Sustainability: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Swimwear

Summertime brings visions of cool ocean waves, beach picnics, and fun pool gatherings with family and friends. Chances are you’ll want to debut a stylish new swimsuit each season, too. However, the global swimwear industry gravely impacts our environments with harmful manufacturing processes and materials. Fortunately, consumers and brands worldwide are increasingly embracing sustainable swimwear options that balance ethics with enjoyment this summer.


Eco-Friendly Swimwear


The Problem with Traditional Swimwear

Popular bikinis and one-piece suits typically rely on polluting production methods and synthetic fabrics with an array of negative consequences:

Fossil Fuel Dependence

Most swimsuits originate from crude oil. Petrochemical-derived materials like nylon and spandex require immense energy inputs during manufacturing, generating copious greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

Harmful Chemicals

Certain dyes and waterproofing agents contain toxic substances like formaldehyde and nonylphenol ethoxylates. These chemicals accumulate in ecosystems if not properly treated before discharge into waterways.

Microplastic Pollution

When washed, microfibers break away from swimsuits and pass through water treatment into rivers and oceans. Fish and other marine life mistake these plastics for food, introducing toxins across the food chain.

Landfill Waste

In addition to shedding microplastics, most swimwear contains polyester and nylon, which could take up to 200 years to decompose in landfills.

Traditional swimsuits conflict with environmental stewardship. However, eco-innovations now empower more sustainable options for making a splash.

Why Choose Sustainable Swimwear?

Beyond tangibly reducing impacts across production, sustainable swimsuits deliver feel-good benefits by aligning purchases with ethics and nature:

Reduced Environmental Impact

Eco-friendly suits utilize greener manufacturing and biodegradable and recycled materials to minimize carbon footprints, energy expenditures, pollution, and waste.

Protects Our Oceans

Sustainable fabrics optimize durability while shedding essentially zero microplastics. This prevents petrochemicals and toxins from infiltrating delicate ocean ecosystems.

Conserves Resources

Responsible production methods recycle materials and utilize eco-friendly renewable or regenerative resources as alternatives to wasteful virgin oil plastics.

Ethically Made

Sustainable supply chains promote safe, equitable working conditions and wages free from sweatshop labor or child exploitation.

High-Quality Materials

In addition to their green credentials, sustainable swimsuit materials often leverage functional innovations like enhanced flexibility, durability, and protection from chlorine and saltwater.

Brands now offer extensive lines of eco-conscious bikinis, tankinis, board shorts, and full-coverage suits for adults and kids alike. The following materials lead the wave towards sustainability.

Eco-Friendly Materials for Swimwear

Swimwear manufacturers now offer more sustainable fabrics that reduce environmental impacts compared to conventional oil-based synthetics. By leveraging materials science innovations alongside consumer demand for conscience-aligning swimsuits, brands establish closed-loop production cycles utilizing recycled and regenerative resources.

Transitioning from virgin to renewable inputs throughout the supply chain – from raw materials to packaging – shrinks energy demands while diverting waste from landfills and oceans. Sourcing practices focused on transparency and ethics further minimize social impacts tied to issues like sweatshop labor.

Recycled Polyester (rPET)

Sourced from recycled plastic bottles, water containers, and textile waste destined for landfills, rPET transforms this debris into durable, quick-drying swimwear. Production demands roughly 70% less energy than virgin Polyester. As the most common eco-friendly swimsuit material, consumers recognize and trust rPET’s benefits.

Regenerated Nylon (ECONYL®)

Through a proprietary processing method, ECONYL® regenerates waste from old carpeting, discarded fabric scraps, and industrial plastic into high-quality nylon for swimsuits. Its production process repeats infinitely without quality loss, continually uplifting hard-to-recycle debris into beautiful, coveted consumer products.

Natural Fibers

Bamboo, eucalyptus, beechwood, and other fast-growing cellulosic plants now compose fabrics blended into swimsuits as alternatives to oil-based synthetics. Cultivating these renewable crops as material inputs requires few pesticides relative to conventional cotton. Garments also compost or recycle easily.

Biodegradable Materials

Cutting-edge material science unlocked game-changing biodegradable neoprene alternatives like bloom® foam, derived completely from algae biomass using renewable feedstocks and requiring a fraction of the carbon footprint. While not yet widespread, these futuristic materials enable suits that fully biodegrade at end-of-life instead of persisting for centuries in landfills.

Choosing the Perfect Sustainable Swimsuit

Alongside sustainability factors, finding that perfect swimsuit still involves identifying the right style, fit, and features for your body and lifestyle. Here are key considerations when shopping:


Evaluate properties like stretch, breathability, and quick-drying functionality. Seek blends that marry recycled synthetics or natural fibers for balanced performance.


Match style not just to passing trends but also body shape and coverage preferences influenced by factors like age or planned activities.


A well-fitted swimsuit is more durable long-term. Test by moving freely—the fabric should not pinch or constrain. Proper fit also boosts confidence when showing off new sustainable beachwear.


More durable suits withstand frequent washing, chlorine exposure, and saltwater longer before breaking down. This maximizes value for money while minimizing disposal impacts when producing a replacement.

Brand Values

Seek purpose-driven brands that improve social and environmental practices across design, sourcing, production, and distribution. Certifications like B-Corp status or Bluesign® approval indicate commitment.

There is now truly a sustainably-made swimsuit for everybody, a budget, and a beach plan from leading names worldwide.

Beyond the Swimsuit: Sustainable Beach Essentials

Your sustainably sourced bikini forms the centerpiece of memorable seaside adventures. Now, complement it by making additional beach essentials eco-friendly to reduce further waste en route to the coast.

Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Seek reef-safe, non-nano formulas that avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate, compounds that bleach fragile coral ecosystems. Brands like Raw Elements and Badger meet these high standards.

Reusable Water Bottle

Hydration remains vital when enjoying the sun and sand. Durable, BPA-free reusable bottles prevent plastic waste from accumulating with daily usage. Flaunt a unique style with multimedia prints or sleek steel.

Responsible Beach Towels

Sustainable textiles, from colorful Turkish pestemals to microfiber options made from recycled materials, prevent hundreds of thousands of pounds of cotton waste yearly.


Ditch breakable Styrofoam models for reusable fabric or basket-weave coolers, reducing landfilled plastics. Stock up on beverages and snacks from bulk bins to prevent packaging waste.

Reef-Safe Sun Hat

Shelter sun-sensitive areas like faces and shoulders with caps and wide-brimmed hats composed of natural materials such as hemp, paper, or straw instead of synthetics.

Reusable Food Utensils

Carbon footprint-conscious picnickers pack full cutlery sets made of renewable bamboo or sturdy stainless steel rather than single-use plastic forks and paper plates that go straight to overflowing trash bins.

Individuals shrink collective consumer impacts on beloved beaches and oceans by thoughtfully selecting everyday items accompanying swimsuit adventures. Who knows? Flaunting your savvy and stylish sustainable setup might spark fellow revelers to follow suit!


Unfortunately, traditional swimwear inflicts tremendous damage on the planet across its lifecycle. But fortunate strides in eco-innovation continue opening access to stylish, sustainable alternatives fit for everybody. By supporting purposeful swimwear brands, consumers reclaim oceanside fun this summer minus the guilt of petrochemical pollution or unethical manufacturing practices. Let quality and conscience drive purchases instead of cost alone. Then dive on in sporting sustainable suits to adventures under the sun!

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