Challenges of an eco-friendly business in Bali and the story of Julie, marine enviromentalist
As a brand based in Bali, Indonesia, we are facing a lot of challenges in business and life itself. Not only due to a totally different culture than we are coming from, but from the mindset standpoint as well. Indonesia is still developing country and it is incredible to see how fast it changed from zero waste into giving zero f*cks about waste.
At the beginning people in here were not using any plastic, any packaging, everything was organic and fresh, coming from nature, so the waste naturally decomposed. Before everything was wrap with banana leaves, and now the locals use the plastic in the same way. Plus with the times of supermarkets and consumerism in general, everything became packed to increase its shelf life and to protect products. Locals use plastic for literally everything and especially single use plastic is a big hit in here (used for the take away foods and all foods in general).
Unfortunately the waste management is not entirely effective so plenty of garbage ends up on the beach and in the ocean. People generate so much litter that any waste management company cannot handle. There is no education about the environment and ecology because it just did not use to be a problem. But it is now.
Reality of many beaches in Bali during the rainy season
The awareness of recycling is rising very slowly but surely and nowadays more and more businesses are changing their philosophy towards being more environmentally-safe. It became a trend to be sustainable, and the demand for the eco-friendly products has risen. Clothing, selfcare, food and bags - packaging all should be made of natureal (biodegradable) materials. People are becoming more mindful about the consequences of this modern life filled with man-made "garbage" that is definitely not as necessary as we think.
The mass productions and commercial brands fill the market with new, NEW, new, so the customers buy again and FAST. This generates profit = more moolah and so there is no time to think of the enviroment. And that is where the problem starts. Because everything leaves a “footprint” (environmental footprint).
Colection of plastic waste on the beach
Photo by Julie
Sustainability - avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
Eco-friendly - not harmful to the environment.
Slow fashion - clothing and apparel manufacturing in respect to people, environment and animals.
Going green - to pursue knowledge and practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles
Locally made - done in, made in, or connected with a particular area.
Giving back to the Ocean
As ocean lovers we understand the issue and we are thinking about it deeply down the core of the Earth. As dedicated surfers, we feel obligated to the Mother Ocean. We in Ninefoot Studio are very much environmentally oriented and we do our best to keep the business clean and do as little harm to the environment as possible (not leaving that damaging environmental footprint).
We can see the consequences on the beach as garbage of all kinds. And let me tell you, not only does nobody want to stay on a dirty beach and surf in water full of trash, but the feeling of resentment and frustration is just awful.
That is why we put a lot of introspection and intention into each and every step of the production process, down to choosing and obtaining the fabrics, casting the local tailors,quality control, packaging, and so on. Our mindset goes hand to hand with slow fashion and producing in small batches - saving more energy a resources and preventing over (mass) production.
Source: Intelligent Living - Econyl: A Special Nylon That Is Infinitely Recyclable
Econyl recycled fabrics made out of ocean plastic
Our challenges and frustrations
Yes, we are using for all our swimwear line ONLY 100% recycled fabrics ECONYL - that are made from ocean plastic and that way helps to reuse and reduce the waste. Yes, we are eco-friendly, Yes, we produce the suits locally here in Bali in small batches and Yes, we never use plastic for the packaging. Yet, we are still far from being 100% sustainable and perfectly aligned with saving the planet. Why?
Well that applies to us, but we as a company still need to collaborate with others, who maybe still on their way to educate themselves and improve towards more sustainable options.
For example with the packaging. We are proud to use the plastic-free option of the packaging and we continue to improve. We are using eco biodegradable pouch bags as the primary packaging for the swimsuits. For shipping we put that pouch bag inside the ninefoot cotton reusable bag and ship the package in paper eco envelopes. Then we drop them in the post office, where the employees pack them in plastic for international delivery. So, all our effort and love is suddenly ruined and we feel great frustration on our eco-friendly journey.
We in Ninefoot studio using eco biodegradable pouch bags for swimsuits
We are lucky to meet Julie Dasse, the French marine environmentalist and passionate surfer who is eager to raise awareness and educate people about the plastic cycle problem. Julia is concerned same as us about the ocean and she supports us and and motivates us to keep going green. We did an interview with her to learn more about her passion for the oceans environment and get some zero-waste tips that we published HERE.
Julie is wearing one of ninefoot studio eco-friendly surf suit - Guadalupe in Mauve
Julie wearing one of ninefoot studio eco-friendly surf suit - Guadalupe in Mauve
Julie´s ocean passion journey
Hi sea people, my name is Julie. I am French and I grew up on the wild west Atlantic coast of Brittany where I learnt to surf at the age of 11 yo. I always spent time in nature but my deep concern and passion for the ocean and coastal environment grew in parallel to my surf passion. Since then my compass has been the ocean, I can’t see myself living away from it, it is my temple.
When I dove into the surf univers I got to spend time near the ocean all seasons all year and so witnessed the plastic pollution after the winter storms, I also got introduced to organizations such as Surfrider Foundation Europe which opened my eyes on the different threats on the coastal area.
Julie is wearing ninefoot´s matching set - Padang surf top and Nusa bottom in emerald green.
As my love for the ocean kept growing I just felt more and more called to act, to share my voice with others to educate and protect the environment. This guided me in my study. I graduated with a master 's in expertise and coastal management. In parallel I was an active volunteer for the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental NGOs.
Along the journey I grew a curiosity for coral reef ecosystems which you may know are under great pressure and decided to travel to Bali to observe them in their natural environment (and of course surfing). This first trip in a developing country, a famous tourist destination, opened my eyes not only to the extended damage on the coral reef but also to the real issue of waste management.
Julie´s goal is to educate as many people as possible and to raise awareness. Julie is wearing a ninefoot Padang surf top in emerald green.
The development of the island is having a large environmental impact on the local ecosystems. Being a witness of it gave me even more motivation to be a part of the change because there are alternatives and solutions.
Story short, I found a place where I got to share my voice and love for the environment to the next local generation. I am now a geography teacher in an international school in Bali. To me, sharing knowledge is a key element because we can’t change our habits and beliefs if we don’t educate ourselves and open our minds. And here I am, connecting with people sharing the same concerns and we gather to share our hope for a healthy future for the ocean and earth.
Julie is wearing ninefoot´s matching set - Padang surf top and Nusa bottom in emerald green. Source: Ninefootstudio
It's not waste until you waste it
It is a decision for all of us and it is an important decision and as Anne Marie Bonneau said: “We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Individuals form groups and groups form masses and we need this message to get massive. The bigger demand there will be for the eco-friendly or green products, the more the infrastructure to support it will be implemented. Each year more and more recycled fabrics are coming to market, new and more eco packaging options, and other innovations.
We are still far from perfect but we are dedicated to learn, grow, challenge ourselves to keep improvement and progress on all stages of the production. Find better ways to run this business and produce collections in ways that are better for the environment as well as spreading the message and raising awareness.
Actions you can take
Reduce - reuse - recycle, using less disposable plastic, refusing single use plastics, buy products made with majority recycled plastic content to support the circular economy and most importantly - slowing down and being conscious about the footprints you leave.
LEARN MORE about the ocean plastic problem and how microplastics in the ocean negatively influence our health. Click HERE and read the zero waste tips that Julie shared with us in the interview.
All ninefootstudio products are eco-friendly and we make them with love as sustainable as possible.
***click on the photos to see the product