Every year, about one million sea birds are harmed by plastic that ends up in oceans around the world. Around 100,000 marine mammals are also negatively impacted by plastic waste annually. This stems largely from excessive plastic usage and pollution. New Yorkers, for example, throw away 24 million plastic bottles every week and many of those items never find their way to recycling facilities.
Business partners, Isabella Cisneros and Ramiro Carranza, were concerned about the environment and wanted to make a lasting positive impact. The idea for a sustainable swimsuit line first came to them while vacationing in Tulum, Mexico during 2016. After living sustainably and connecting with nature at an eco-friendly hotel, the couple began thinking about meaningful ways to tackle the issue of pollution in the environment.
Having seen the Netflix documentary, A Plastic Ocean, they were inspired to create a long term sustainable solution for the issue of plastic waste in the ocean. The film, which focuses on the evolution of plastic waste over the years, shows how this material has been used more than ever in just the last 10 years.
Cisneros and Carranza decided to create The Tropics, a line of swim trunks made with materials derived from recycled plastic bottles. The Miami based company recently released their first line of men’s swimwear and they're focused on spreading environmental awareness with every item they sell.
Each swim trunk is made from about 10 to 11 post-consumer plastic bottles, which the company collects during their beach cleanups and sends to a facility to specially process. The used bottles are sorted, cleaned, chipped, and melted into fibers. Through this process, the bottles are completely transformed and given a new life as stylish swimwear.
By keeping plastic out of the ocean to create sustainable clothes, the company also hopes to tackle the concerns raised by fast fashion. The fashion industry is the second largest pollutant in the world. The Tropics aims to alleviate this issue by setting an example of how a brand can be fashionable and environmentally responsible at the same time. Cisneros explains, "We're on a mission to spread the word about sustainability. It’s up to our generation to make a change.” Carranza was also inspired to provide an affordable, high quality men’s swim suit option through this new endeavor.
The company hopes to spread awareness about pollution and regularly hosts related events to get more people inspired and involved. The Tropics also donates a portion of their proceeds through their partnership with with 1% for the Planet. 1% for the Planet is a worldwide organization that helps companies give back by certifying donations and advising on strategies. The network allows thousands of members to work together to help the environmental in financially responsible ways.
So far, The Tropics has helped keep 5,500 bottles out of the ocean and continues to work on new designs. If you’re in the South Florida area and would like to help keep plastic out of the beaches, keep an eye out for their beach clean up events on their website and social media.