Showing Up for Upcycling


Alyson Gessner

Show them Love

July 7, 2021

The trend of the future emphasizes recycling waste into fabrics. Whether that means scrapped or resold materials or waste getting diverted from landfills, brands and consumers alike love to flaunt products that are made from recycled materials. This can easily be used as greenwashing, of course, but some brands are the real deal.

Take Vivida Lifestyle, for example: a surf and sportswear brand that is dedicated to creating high quality, sustainable products. It’s easy to argue that every company is “committed” to sustainability, but since the viability of a surf brand is dependent on clean oceans that allow for their sport, Vivida has a personal stake in actually upholding those values. Vivida’s Neptune Eco Neoprene Hoodie is a great example of how they’ve integrated sustainability in their products by using recycled and clean materials whenever possible.

What earns Vivida this appreciation is their commitment to using upcycled materials. From scrap rubber tires and recycled plastic bottles in their fabrics, and water-based lamination glue that avoids VOCs altogether, Vivida has clearly taken creative steps to make their hoodie as sustainable as possible.

We don’t need to ignore the elephant in the room: neoprene isn’t great. It’s synthetic, non-biodegradable, and there isn’t a sustainable way to produce it. Although using earth-mined limestone is less carbon intensive than petrochemicals, mining is still environmentally destructive. We might be showing love to Vivida, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be better. Neoprene is still a no.

But that also doesn’t mean that Vivida can’t do their best to reduce impacts of their neoprene. By recycling waste from neoprene production, some of the production process can be diverted away from landfills. And although mining is still harmful, it is far less carbon intensive than an oil-based product.

Here’s how I see it: the Vivida Neoprene Eco Neptune Hoodie isn’t a perfectly sustainable product. Neoprene is harmful no matter what way you look at it. But this hoodie could be worse, and I think that they’re doing the best they can with the technology and innovation that is readily available. Part of responsible consumption includes knowing when to say no. Don’t fill your closet with a product like this, but buying one for your surfing necessities is better than a more harmful competitor. 

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