· By Maria Nilsson
Atmosea's sustainability journey
We want to stay real and relatable to our customers of all ages. Our journey towards greater sustainability starts with transparency - an acknowledgement that we are not perfect and that what lays ahead of us requires determination, persistence, questioning and critical thinking. There are many hurdles to overcome when existing within a paradigm of desiring to tread lightly yet being a producer of a product in an innately toxic industry.
We want to share with you Atmosea's sustainability journey and the future direction of Atmosea.
We are continuously growing knowledge of our focussed direction by researching materials, suppliers, waste & disposal. By having an intuitive eye for areas of improvement within the industry, by communicating and connecting with like-minded brands and individuals trying to achieve the same goals.
We are constantly bouncing ideas back and forth, on ways in which we can improve.
We are currently diving into all aspects of our practices as a business in the fashion and surf wear industry; from packaging, to offsetting our carbon footprint & trying our best to streamline our waste.
We also want to educate, inspire and increase transparency of conversation between brands and consumers.
We hope to build a greener fashion industry that empowers women but doesn’t cost our planet!
We are striving for minimal environmental impact throughout the industry, but as mentioned, we recognise that production and growth of any kind has a flow on effect.
At our core, we are passionate surfers, creatives and nature lovers and we encourage all to live daily with ocean and environmental protection at the forefront of all of our decisions and actions.
What we are doing now:
You can see where we are on our journey to sustainability here.
Packaging - We recognise the disastrous impact that plastic is having on the ocean, its inhabitants and to human health. In terms of garment bags, we have never had any plastic associated with our apparel and swim collections. We are currently using biobased garment bags from Avani in Indonesia. These bags are currently all that is available in Indonesia as an alternative to virgin plastic varieties. Whilst these bags are a preferred alternative, currently, they do not carry any certifications that supports their claims of compostability, an important factor when choosing plastic alternatives. We are attempting to gain more understanding from the manufacturer to ensure the bags are what they claim to be.
For our wetsuit range, we have been using Better Packaging Co garment bags for the last few seasons - these carry with them the Australian Home Compostable standard, which means that they can be disposed of in your backyard compost bin or in your local council kerbside green bin (always check with local councils for clarification of what compostable items they will and won't accept). We asked Better Packaging Co to come on board with us to reduce transport mileage. Instead of the garment bags being shipped from their manufacturing factory in China to New Zealand (where their dispatch is based) then back to our wetsuit factory in China, their factory ships directly to ours, cutting out thousands of transport miles and associated emissions, we are stoked with this result.
All of our garments are free of plastic swing tags.
We also use Better Packaging Co's certified Home Compostable postage bags to ship all of your Atmosea goodies in.
We currently only use cotton in all of our apparel range, there are no synthetic fabrics present in any of our clothing threads.
Our production is with an epic ethical small business in Bali, Mindful Merch.
Materials and fibre
By the end of the year, we want to increase the sustainability of our clothing by using natural fabrics that adhere to a number of well-established and recognised global standards. These standards are helping to revolutionise the fashion industry, ensuring that fibres, dyes and end of life can be as close to caring for nature as possible. They also keep brands in check, making sure that claims are not false or misleading. We will also be expanding into fabrics other than cotton, such as bamboo and hemp to help achieve these goals. Keep an eye on our new range in September, exciting things to come.
All of our swim is made from Econyl, we transitioned over to this from traditional lycra in 2018. Econyl is an Italian made material which turns recovered ocean plastics into a synthetic material suitable for swimwear. Whilst Econyl has become a favoured material when it comes to addressing issues of sustainability and waste, we want to be clear, that like most things, this fabric is not perfect. Studies released in recent times shed light on the issue of microplastics that come from this material when the item is washed. What can you do about this? Purchase a microfibre washing bag, these bags collect the tiny particles as they shed in the washing machine. Furthermore, install a filter in your washing machine, these are becoming mandated in certain countries in the coming years.
Wetsuit production is currently a sticking point when it comes to achieving our goals. Ideally, our next range would be released in Yulex, as from all of our research, it seems to be the only alternative that truly is a better choice than petroleum-based neoprene. Achieving this however, is proving to be quite difficult. Currently there is only one factory in the world who manufactures wetsuits in Yulex, they have a production waitlist that extends out to 2023 and have huge minimum order quantities of 600 pieces per suit, per colour!! Numbers to us, which defy the notion of trying to produce a good in sustainable quantities.
There are other options out there that we are currently exploring in the meantime, including neoprene made from recycled car tyres and limestone based rubbers.
All that being said, stick with us and we will be aiming to release an epic, Yulex range in the future. But we need to know, as mentioned, to meet our goal we would need to purchase 600 suits in one colour and style. As a small company, this is a big risk for us.
Partnered for positive change
We have recently partnered with 1% for the planet - we are stoked to be onboard with this environmental enterprise which aims to put people and the planet over profit.
We are also currently exploring avenues to offset Atmosea's carbon footprint. This is a complicated arena but is something we are keen to know more about. We are currently in talks with Ecologi to get a better understanding of what this process involves.
What you can do
Life moves in circles and fashion should too. For each of us to understand that all of our choices come with consequence, particularly on the planet, is of huge consequence as we seek to tread with less of an impact.
It might seem counterintuitive for a us to say, but we commend you for not being consumers, only buy what is necessary and when you really need. Shop consciously, whether that is from second hand purchases or from brands who support transparency and mindful manufacture.
We are here for you and hope that in time, everything that we desire to provide, we will have achieved. Thank you for your support.