4 Aussie Sustainable Activewear Brands Helping Clean Up Plastic Pollution

Kira Simpson

When it comes to activewear performance is always at the top of the list and you also want pieces that make you look and feel good.

But what about their impact?

Most activewear is made from virgin polyester which uses natural precious resources, takes hundreds of years to break down in landfill and unfortunately is not (yet) recyclable. And while there are some excellent performance wear brands using natural fabrics like cotton and wool, they’re not always the best option for the gym.

So what’s the sustainable alternative?

Australian ethical sustainable recycled activewear

Turning recycled plastic into fashion

Companies are turning discarded fishing nets, industrial plastic, and water bottles into a high-performance fabric, the most well known is ECONYL, a regenerated nylon created with a closed-loop system that uses less water and creates less waste than virgin nylon production.

ECONYL, when compared with virgin polyester, uses between 30-50% less energy and reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 90%.

Recycled polyester is not without its issues and is not a perfect sustainable solution because we need to remember, recycled plastic is still plastic. So as with all synthetic clothing, it will shed microfibers when you wash so remember to use a microfiber wash bag or filter.

That said, these four Australian activewear brands are using this innovative solution to the plastic pollution problem to create stylish and practical sustainable styles perfect for your next sweat sesh.

Australian ethical sustainable recycled activewear

1. Nimble Active

Founded in 2014 by longtime friend Katia and Vera, Nimble is made for women who want to look and feel good while working out.

Their custom-engineered MoveLite and COMPRESSLITE™ recycled fabrics are lightweight yet durable, perfect for your next yoga class or weights session. And most importantly, the leggings will pass the squat test.

With their latest Green Grid collection, each pair of tights saves six water bottles and each sports bra saves two water bottles from landfills.

Australian ethical sustainable recycled activewear

2. Timbuktu

Designed with performance in mind, Timbuktu’s gorgeous range of recycled leggings and waterproof jackets will have you sorted for your next hike.

After being disappointed with the not so stylish offerings in the hiking wear space, founder Rhiannon decided to create a range of performance outdoor wear that looked good and was good for the environment.

Timbuktu is all about transparency. On their site, you’ll find detailed information about the fabrics, the supply chain, and exactly how, where, and who made their clothes.

Australian ethical sustainable recycled activewear

3. Salt Gypsy

Specialising in practical surfwear, Salt Gypsy is a women’s surf lifestyle company celebrating female surf athleticism and style in the lineup.

Their range includes rashies, leggings, and bikinis that will protect your body and your dignity while out in the ocean.

This female-owned and operated brand makes every piece right here in Australia on the Gold Coast where you can meet the makers and see exactly how your clothes are made.

Australian ethical sustainable recycled activewear

4. Elle Evans

Known for their fun, bright prints, Elle Evans is an Australian swimwear label who also does recycled activewear and some very cute pieces for kids.

Founders Ellie and Tanya set out to create a brand that helps close the loop in fashion by using ECONYL and hoping that one day you can recycle your Elle Evans pieces with them.

Every piece is handmade by Tanya in her Melbourne studio and modeled on beautiful women with different shapes so you can see how they really look and sit on your body.

Kira Simpson

Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability expert. She started The Green Hub as a blog in 2015, which has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education sites dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable lifestyle.