Plastic Bottles, Oyster Shells Turned into Sweaters by Massachusetts Company

This Massachusetts-based company makes sweaters out of used plastic bottles and empty oyster shells.

They originated from a local business’s desire to safeguard the shoreline they adore. Additionally, the materials for the sweaters they create and sell are undoubtedly unique.

Oyster Shells and Plastic Bottles

Every time, according to Long Wharf Supply Co. founder Mike Lamagna, they are astounded by the fact that each sweater in the “Seawell Collection” uses approximately four to five oyster shells and eight plastic bottles.

Lamagna is passionate about minimizing waste and preserving the oceans because he grew up near the water in the Newburyport area. With this background, he developed a fashionable, sustainable clothing line.

Every piece, according to him, can reseed up to 30 oysters. The oysters, in turn, will naturally filter about 1,500 gallons of seawater each day.

Instead of the oyster shells ending up in landfills and becoming toxic because the calcium carbonate in the shells breaks down very slowly, they will be diverted into recycling and processed into sweaters.

Life Cycle of Oysters

Since 2008, Theresa Baybutt and the nonprofit organization MA Oyster Project have been working to reintroduce recycled oyster shells to the water, and for a variety of reasons.

According to Baybutt, reintroducing it to the water also increases the substrate available for these young oysters to attach to and grow, which is advantageous to all parties.

Oysters obtain their food by removing water-borne algae. Up to 50 gallons of seawater can be filtered daily by a single adult oyster in the wild. The oysters create a habitat for 200 additional marine species when they group together.

However, climate change has, in part, disrupted that cycle. Massive underwater reefs that shield the shores have been destroyed by warming waters, more severe winter storms, and bigger boats. However, organizations like the MA Oyster Project work all year long to rebuild them.

Long Wharf Supply Co. donates a portion of the money from each sweater it sells to support that cause.

Cycle of a Sustainable Sweater

According to Lamangna, the group must remove waste from the waste stream to produce a product that people will love.

After that, the communities will be able to reseed oyster reefs.

And every purchase enables this process, according to Lamangna

It also completes the circle for Lamangna, who has spent his entire life around the water, and for Long Wharf as a company, WCVB5 reports.

Also Read: Mushroom Roots: New Resource for Construction, Fashion

Recycling Plastic Bottles in the US

By the end of 2022, reports on the ineffectiveness of plastic recycling have made waves. The topic was even featured in NPR, with the non-profit media outlet reporting that only 10% of plastics have ever been recycled.

However, for some, 10% is a good starting point.

Long Wharf Supply Co. is one of the many companies that stand behind the concept of recycling.

There are also governing bodies that are optimistic about recycling, like the State of Maine which detailed the recycling process on its website for its constituents.

According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, two types of plastic bottles can be recycled. The first type, PET #1 plastics, are plastic beverage bottles and can be made into carpets, backpacks, polar fleece, sleeping bags, and ski jacket insulation. The second type, HDPE #2 plastics, are plastic bottles for milk and juice, as well as for detergent, and can be made into plastic lumber for decking and docks, play sets, buckets, containers, frisbees, and stadium seats, and new bottles.

Related Article: Style Expert Shares 7 Clothing Programs for Recycling Mountains of Old Clothes 

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