sustainable shirt

Graphic by: Christina Lehn

Ahh, the recycled plastic bottle t-shirt (with a “Save Our Oceans” print). Sigh.


Buy one, put it on, and it makes you feel oh-so-good for doing something positive for the planet. After all, you’re buying something that would otherwise be waste, right?!


Green-washed do-gooder consumers beware!


TRUTH BOMB: this way of recycling plastic bottles ensures that it only gets ONE more life cycle and actually does more harm than good by emitting microplastics into the oceans. And, that just ain’t cool!


Plastic bottles should definitely not be recycled into fabric. They should be recycled into more plastic bottles. Why are we making something that is recyclable into something that isn’t? Some may argue “but 100% polyester can be recycled”. This is true, however, many of these "eco-shirts" are manufactured with blends of recycled polyester and cotton which makes them non-recyclable. AND, any type of polyester / sythetic fabric creates microplastics every time you wash them. Finally, getting people to actually return their shirt at the end of its life and getting enough quantities back to make it feasible to recycle the shirts into more shirts is unrealistic. Thus, the plastic shirt made from those recycled, plastic water bottles ultimately ends up in the landfill.


We’ve all seen the brands out there with the slogans on their shirts that say “keep our sea plastic free”, “plants only”, “skip a straw save a turtle”, “keep our ocean blue, our planet green and our animals safe”, etc. etc. etc. Have you ever stopped and checked what those shirts made out of? Well, a few friends and I are on an escapade right now to call out every single company who is claiming to be “environmentally friendly” and printing those save-the-planet slogans on plastic shirts. I urge you to join our cause and show these brands that you're not going to fall into their blatant marketing schemes.


This blog is a response to the confusion and anger I'm feeling about this new level of greenwashing. You’re preaching to be saving the planet when in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish, and most of those fish will be filled with the microplastics created by the recycled-bottle t-shirts. Maybe someone should have read up on microplastics before making plastic shirts that claim to be protecting our oceans.


An open message to those brands:


PLEASE, if you truly cared about our oceans and the animals, stop making shirts out of recycled plastic bottles. Do your research and be better.


Yours truly,




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