SEAQUAL® yarn is changing the narrative around plastic and the ocean. Created by an ocean-friendly company from Spain called SEAQUAL INITIATIVE, it’s a recycled polyester yarn containing a percentage of marine litter. We’ve been using 100% SEAQUAL® for a while in many swim styles as it reflects our philosophy of protecting what we love most - the ocean. But you may be asking how sustainable are SEAQUAL® garments? How is SEAQUAL® yarn made? And what are the benefits of SEAQUAL® yarn? Fortunately, we’ve done some digging and found out all there is to know about this special and innovative fibre that provides one small solution to a very big problem that must be fought on all fronts.
The problem is pollution
Every year, around 8 million tonnes of plastics enter the ocean. Pollution has become such a widespread problem that even in the pristine-looking Mediterranean it’s virtually impossible to go for a swim in the sea without running into some plastic. Also, it’s important to remember that once far out at sea, this plastic degrades in the sunlight to become smaller and smaller until it’s ingested by marine organisms of any and every size. That’s why we have to catch plastic at its source - by reducing the amount we produce and by retrieving it from our beaches. That’s SEAQUAL’s reason to be: they “come together for a clean ocean”. Here’s a deeper look:
What is SEAQUAL® yarn?
SEAQUAL® YARN is a 100% recycled polyester yarn that contains 10% SEAQUAL® marine plastic obtained by beach clean-up groups, NGOs, plastic collection systems and fishermen. Does this mean that the other 90% is not sustainable? Far from it: SEAQUAL INITIATIVE also sources post-consumer plastic waste - things like plastic bottles (very common for recycled polyester products), carpeting, and cut-offs - for their specialised polyester yarn. To use the terminology of the hour, this makes SEAQUAL® a totally “circular” textile that takes waste and turns it into something more easy on the eye - and environment - to be reused again and again. This contrasts to the “linear” model of fashion which goes from sourcing to production to customer to landfill.
SEAQUAL INITIATIVE say that their fibre has a wide-variety of applications, from furniture to fashion, and they say that it is almost identical to regular polyester. That means we’re getting all the good from polyester: high stretch, great durability, softness, and almost none of the bad.
How is SEAQUAL® YARN made?
In the manufacture of SEAQUAL® yarn, marine and post-consumer plastic is collected, cleaned, and shredded into flakes, before being reshaped into pellets. These plastic pellets are regenerated into a polyester yarn. The process involves low impact “mechanical recycling” as opposed to more resource-intensive “chemical recycling”.
What are the benefits of SEAQUAL® YARN fabrics?
SEAQUAL say that their mission is to create a “seismic shift in attitudes towards sustainability”, a big statement which is rippling out into the fashion world. As brands and consumers cotton-on to SEAQUAL’s unique sustainability credentials, it’ll only get more popular, helping reduce the amount of plastic in the sea.
To make SEAQUAL yarn’s top advantages and disadvantages even clearer, we’ve broken them down into categories.
- Avoids the use of fossil fuels
- Up to 60% less CO2
- Reduces marine litter
- Low water footprint
- Low energy use
Cons - same as regular polyester
- Sheds microfibres
- Doesn’t biodegrade
- Good elasticity
- Good UV resistance
- Resistant to mould and moths
- Easy to care for and wash
- Great for catching waves
- Quick drying
Cons - same as regular polyester
- Low absorbency
- Not too breathable
- Sometimes pills
How sustainable are SEAQUAL® yarn garments?
Garments made from SEAQUAL® yarn are very sustainable, although that partly depends on the brand who makes them. It’s no good to purchase recycled fabric, if it has to be flown half way around the world to be used in a factory that doesn’t guarantee good working conditions, then flown back to be delivered to the customer. A brand’s ethics and supply chain are just as important as the fabrics they use.
That’s why, as an EU company, we produce our SEAQUAL® garments and accessories in Northern Portugal and use a pre-order system to make sure that little to no fabric or garments are wasted. This is also what makes our garments sustainable.
SEAQUAL® garments have a lot going for them. Their sustainability extends to the fact that they’re recycled - meaning that fewer resources are required to make the base fibre and that far fewer emissions are produced. With plastic products, this is really important, as the raw material is usually oil - one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions that are heating the planet.
We love the fact that SEAQUAL® has a dual advantage over virgin polyester - taking plastic out of the sea, and reusing what already exists. This protects ocean-based life - from turtles to albatrosses - and creates a low environmental impact. It’s the natural choice for ocean lovers like us.
TWOTHIRDS SEAQUAL® STYLES
SEAQUAL® Board Shorts
Given SEAQUAL® yarn’s softness, quick-dry and UV resistant properties, it has long been a mainstay of our men’s board short collection. It’s quite satisfying to think that something made partially from ocean plastics should be returned to the ocean in a safer, surfier format! 2022’s board shorts feature original prints from the creative minds of our men’s fashion designer, Toni and our artistic director, Emil. You’ll find circular shapes, abstract waves, and retro colours.
Continuing with the seaside theme: nearly all our towels and beach blankets are made from 30% SEAQUAL® and 70% Recover™ recycled cotton, another star sustainable material. The towels feature droplet and whale icon patterns and are a much-loved accessory for our staff here at TWOTHIRDS.
One of our most interesting uses of SEAQUAL® within the past six months has been in jackets! Both the Orak for men and the Snape for women are made of organic cotton & SEAQUAL® which creates a totally unique “papery” texture and a durable quality.
Try out a sustainable SEAQUAL® jacket to find the perfect balance between originality and ocean protection.