Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

GoLite Makes Performance Apparel from Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: By 2050, landfills will be swamped with 12 billion tons of plastic and the ocean will contain more plastic than fish.

How is this possible, you ask? A quick glance into your local convenience store, restaurant storage room, or CostCo aisle provides the answer: A million new plastic bottles are born every minute.

We know, we know—you’re a scrupulous recycler. You sometimes schlep an empty plastic bottle around with you all day until you find a bin that will welcome it into its second life as lawn furniture, carpet fiber, or other post-consumer plastic byproducts. Alas, not every consumer is as conscientious as you. Statistics show that only 9 percent of plastic bottles ever make it to the recycling plant.

Okay, that was the bad news.

Statistics show that only 9 percent of plastic bottles ever make it to the recycling plant.

The good news is that an increasing number of retail companies are seizing the opportunity to solve this environmental conundrum. One of the most ingenious ways is through repurposing post-consumer plastics as clothing.

Sound weird? Can’t be that weird, when companies like Ralph Lauren, adidas and Patagonia are doing it. We recently came across a Seattle-based apparel brand called GoLite, whose collection of beautiful active and travel apparel is exclusively made from recycled plastic bottles.

It has to be said that GoLite’s apparel line isn’t first and foremost a venue for post-consumer plastic use—it’s simply performance fashion at its finest. The ultra-smooth, lightweight fabric combines the performance of high-end outdoor clothing with the functional flexibility of athletic wear. It wicks, stretches, regulates temperature and repels moisture, all while just happening to make use of recycled fibers, eco-friendly finishes, and earth-friendly dying and printing techniques. We were also struck by the incredible softness and durability of the garments.

Here are a few of our favorites from GoLite’s recycled plastic collection.

GoLite ReGreen Windshell
Image used with permission by copyright holder

GoLite’s award-winning signature item, the ReGreen Windshell, is spun from green bottles, which are among the least desirable post-consumer plastic content because they can’t be re-dyed.

GoLite ReBound Jogger
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The ReBound joggers feature incredible softness, durability and fit, along with the highest UPF protection for fabric and a moisture-transferring finish that repels stains as well as water. And knowing that these garments were made using 50% less energy and and 80% less water consumption than standard textile manufacturing makes us feel pretty righteous…which, if you don’t know, adds that extra je ne sais quoi to any stylish outfit.

GoLite Travel Pants
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The brand’s GoLite travel pants are similar to the joggers above and feature the same durability and UPF protection you’ll need when hitting the street or trail.

GoLite’s environmental initiatives don’t stop with manufacture and materials. The bottles that go into each item in the GoLite collection are collected in collaboration with Da.Ai and a host of recycling volunteers. Furthermore, GoLite has also built strong humanitarian initiatives into its business plan with the GoAid programs, recently donating 14,000 shirts to Seattle-based Medical Teams International workers in Uganda and Guatemala.

Shall we sum up? Wearing this clothing feels as good on the inside as it does on the outside.

What goes better with recycled clothing than recycled shoes? Check out Sperry’s recent Bionic collection to see what recycled plastic footwear can look like.

Editors' Recommendations

Chelsea Batten
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Chelsea Batten is a writer, photographer, and Kerouac groupie. One of the original digital nomads, she was seduced from life…
Native Shoes Jefferson Bloom Turns Algae Into Sustainable, Stylish Footwear
Native Shoes Jefferson Bloom Colors

Many outdoor and environmentally conscious brands have been utilizing Bloom, a plant-based foam made from algae, in their products to tackle climate change effects and lower their carbon footprint in the production process. We shared the details on Native Shoes’ Plant Shoe in June and we were stunned by its appearance, durability, and overall comfort. Now, the “live lightly” gurus at Native are pointing their feet towards another sustainable project that reimagines the brand’s bestselling slip-on design: the Native Shoes Jefferson Bloom.

The Jefferson Bloom — a“sustainable Croc,” if you will — is the second member of Native’s sustainable line. The company is searching for materials that are better for the Earth and on its way to the goal of being 100% lifecycle-managed by 2023.

Read more
Why Every Man Should Care About Slow Fashion
slow fashion

Does it seem like the work of the 21st century has so far been largely occupied by unraveling some of the “progress” of the 20th? From industrial practices to the food system and so much more, the developed world is finding that many of the time-saving, convenience-making innovations that delighted our parents and grandparents might have been better left alone.

The problem isn’t speed or convenience, per se. It’s the way speed and convenience fuel the rate of consumption. Take fast food as an example: While there’s nothing wrong with you and I enjoying a burger and fries, fast food makes it all too easy for us to compromise our health by eating them more often than we know we should. And as neuroscience shows us, the more we gratify a given desire, the greater our desire for it grows.

Read more
Look Good and Feel Better By Supporting Brands that Support Ocean Conservation
Sand Cloud

A United Nations Environment Program study estimates that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. There are many factors that have contributed to the demise of ocean life, however, some of the most impactful come from using single-use plastics. Thankfully, many apparel and lifestyle brands that support the oceans have reconfigured their efforts to manufacturing products that are more environmentally conscious and donating profits to organizations devoted to save the oceans.

Plastic waste has long been considered one of the most pressing issues when it comes to saving our oceans. Not only does it diminish the beauty of Earth’s most cherished resource, plastic waste, along with pollution and destructive fishing practices, take a major toll on our marine ecosystems as well as our very own health.

Read more