We’re reaching the end of summer and starting to pack away our bathers. Some of us are even discarding them if they’re looking slightly out of style without realising the impact that this can have on the environment. The fabric used in bathing suits is not biodegradable. The microfibres are shed as tiny pieces of plastic each time bathing suits are washed, and these pieces end up in the ocean.
Why are most bathing suits non-biodegradable? The answer is simple: they are made from plastic. Synthetic fabrics such as the ones used in most swimming costumes are perfect for the activity because they are cheap to manufacture, wick moisture and are extremely stretchable. As bathing suits become cheaper to manufacture, they are also being viewed as more disposable. At the end of summer, our landfills become clogged with discarded bathers as we look forward to purchasing new togs next summer.
Trust House Recreation Centre Tog Box
Trust House Recreation Centre in Masterton New Zealand have partnered with Swimming Wellington, Water Safety New Zealand and Water Skills for Life to be a collection point for recycling good quality bathers for families who cannot afford appropriate swimwear to attend swimming pools.
Since the program began in December 2019, approximately 180 bathers have been recycled. The togs are collected at Trust House Recreation Centre then distributed to local schools through the school liaison staff for Water Safety New Zealand.
“We have had some grateful parents tell us we have made their child very happy,” said Marilyn Sayers, Facility Manager at Trust House Recreation Centre. “We often dig in the box if a child comes to the pools without proper swimwear. School teachers have been happy that they can discretely offer a child a pair of togs or goggles which raises self-esteem. This makes swimming a much better experience for the child.”
The campaign, which has been exceptionally well received, was promoted through social media and word of mouth to the swimming club parents, but having the recycling box in a prominent space at Reception was also very effective.
Apart from the tog recycling program, Trust House Recreation Centre’s council partner Masterton District Council are also organising all the lighting at the stadium to be changed to energy saving LED lighting and replacing the roofing material over the learners’ pool and one of the changing room blocks to reduce heating loss and improve natural light.