Recycling has an image problem. Materials made from recycled waste are still seen as less commercially desirable than their virgin alternative.

How can this situation be changed?

One way is for brands that you wouldn’t normally associate with the circular economy to start promoting the business opportunity of using recycled materials in the production of their products.

A case in point is a new line of swimwear from surf brand Volcom, which is marketed as being made from recovered nylon waste – much of which comes from old fishing nets.

Volcom has partnered with Italian fabric company Aquafil to create Simply Solid. Aquafil manufactures a product called Econyl, composed of 100 percent regenerated nylon waste, such as abandoned fishing nets, production scraps, and carpet fluff. The waste is transformed into a durable, lightweight, and breathable textile. via



Locally, Woolworths have stated that their RE: Jeans range is made in part using recycled PET bottles. The brand’s positioning is firmly biased towards Earth-conscious, fashion-sensitive millennials who have a more holistic sense of where their style comes from.

There are millions of tons of plastic and general waste lying around, just waiting to be turned into desirable fashion items thanks to heightened consumer demand for products manufactured from recycled material. What’s needed to help this potential scenario along is the right branding that stokes that fire. It’s a big opportunity, but the tipping point is still some way off.