An Urban Field Guide To Plastics

Our swimsuits are all made of #1 rPet, but what does that actually mean? Find out why our swimsuits materials keep us 100% in the recycling loop.

If we don’t reduce the amount of plastic we use, there are going to be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. FACT. But, it’s not that simple. We should all be trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use, from carrier bags and reusable water bottles to buying loose veggies. But there are times when plastic is unavoidable. If you need to take plastic home, some types are better than others because they can be recycled.

Here is our guide to plastics!

#1: PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

Easily recycled, not found to leach microplastics into liquids. Used in water, juice and soft drink bottles. Loop’s swimsuits are made of recycled PET (but more on that later!)

#2: HDPE (high-density polyethylene)

Easily recycled, not found to leach. Used in milk jugs, detergent and shampoo bottles.

#3: PVC or Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride)

Not recyclable; soft PVC can leach toxic phthalates. Used in some cling wraps, children’s toys, fashion accessories, rain gear, detergent and spray bottles.

#4: LDPE (low-density polyethylene)

Recyclable at recycling centers; not found to leach. Used in most plastic shopping bags, cling wraps, some baby bottles and reusable drink & food containers.

#5: PP (polypropylene)

Recyclable in some curbside programs, not found to leach. Used in some baby bottles, most yogurt and takeout containers, Tupperware- and Rubbermaid-type reusable food and drink containers.

#6: PS (polystyrene)

Recyclable in some centres, can leach styrene, a neurotoxin. Used in rigid foam drink cups, takeout food containers, egg containers, some plastic cutlery.

#7: Applies to all other plastics

This is a tricky one! This code applies to all other plastics, notably PC, or Polycarbonate, it can leach the suspected hormone disrupting chemical, bisphenol-A. Polycarbonate also doesn’t recycle. 
But #7 also includes the relatively benign new copolyester Tritan plastic, which many companies are using to replace other plastics.

Adding to the confusion, the burgeoning crop of bioplastics falls under code #7, as well. These include PLA, or Polyactide, made from plants, especially corn. As a material, it’s certainly renewable and hence greener than petroleum (usless that corn is grown with fertilizers), with which all the above plastics are made. It is used with increasing frequency in water bottles, bags, supermarket takeout containers and other packaging.

At the moment, PLA is not easily recyclable, but it can technically be recycled with other, conventional plastics so long as it comprises only 5 percent of the batch.  Hmmm… not totally ideal .

And finally, there is recycled PET (#1 rPET). Loop’s swimsuits are all made from rPET, which is exactly the same as PET or polyester but comes entirely from recycled plastic bottles. Your swimsuit purchase literally helps keep plastic bottles out of the oceans and landfill!

We developed our bespoke fabrics exclusively with REPREVE rPET. The REPREVE brand has recycled over 17 billion plastic bottles into fabric, which makes this collaboration especially exciting and impactful!

It’s the perfect choice for swimwear because it blocks out 98% of damaging UVA and UVB rays making it UPF50+. It is also exceptionally soft, doesn’t stretch out of shape and doesn’t fade even after many swims in the ocean!

Now that you’ve got a handle on our material, check out our website to treat yourself to a Loop Swimsuit and do your part for keeping plastic out of the oceans!

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