A Bikini that Helps Clean Ocean Pollution? Yes, it's real.

Bikini

While the name of the bikini isn’t too appealing, “The Sponge Suit” will be a new way for us to help clean our oceans while enjoying a swim.    I first saw this bikini, thanks to Kehko.com:

“Today, consumers are demanding that businesses do more to help make this world a better place, and many companies are listening.  However, it is not always easy to find companies that support the causes you care deeply about.  Kehko was created to tackle this challenge, with the aim to develop a comprehensive platform where social businesses and consumers can easily discover each other.  Our mission is to become the primary destination for any socially-conscious consumer online. “

Ocean & Water conservation has always been an important issue, but with the controversial dump of 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the St Lawrence River, it seems water and the quality of the water sources we have access to has once again become a popular topic of interest.

The Sponge Suit was designed at the University of California by electrical engineer professor, Mihri Ozkan, along with the help of her team about four years ago.  The design, which came to life thanks to Pinar Guvenc, Inanc Eray and Gonzalo Carbajo, partners of Eray Carbajo, won first place at the Reshape 15 Wearable Technology Competition and was recognized at the Maker Faire in Rome on October 16th.

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How does it work?

The reusable material is made from a heated form of sugar. “It has a highly porous structure that is super hydrophobic, meaning it repels water, but also absorbs harmful contaminants.”- via UCR

The Sponge material can absorb up to 25 times its own weight and it won’t release the materials it absorbs until it is heated at a temperature over 1,000 degrees Celsius.  The material can be reused twenty times without losing its absorbency.

Watch this video to know more!

 

The first thoughts that came to my mind, were: “How is this safe for someone to wear?”  and, “Is this too expensive for anyone to take any interest?”

According to UCR, “The contaminants will be trapped in the inner pores of the sponge material, so they don’t touch the skin. After being used a number of times, the sponge pad can be replaced with a new pad and the old one can be recycled.”

Also, it is apparently very cost effective to manufacture and it does no harm to the environment.  They have filed for the patents for the inventions, and are looking into the material being used in wet caps, other bathing suits and body suits in the future.

I really like the idea behind this concept.  I still have things I am wondering about though.  Such as, how much they will charge for each suit, how much the sponge pad replacements will cost and how interested people would be in this.  I think the design needs some work- I’m not sure how many women would feel about the appearance of the suit, but in a perfect world, people would care more about the planet than how they look.  Unfortunately, the world isn’t a perfect place.

bikini3Also, while it does help, and helping even a little bit is better than doing nothing at all, I would like to see the effect it has on a larger scale.  It would be great to see the material being used in more things too though- such as surf boards, boogie boards, put on the bottom of ships etc… That would be impressive and hopefully it can be done, but I don’t know if those options are even plausible.

Either way, hopefully this will gain more attention and be put on the market for a reasonable price.  Hopefully many people will join the movement by getting the word out and by trying this suit once it is available.

 I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see!

Have you heard any more information about this idea/product?  What are your thoughts?  Would you wear it?  If not, what would have to be done to make it more likely that you WOULD wear it?

Let me know in the comments below or find me on Facebook!

Update: Behind the Green Scene (BGS) selected this article to be used for EcoStyle Daily!  What a nice surprise!  Thank you!

Screen Captures

-JLA

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