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A New Standard of Sustainability

14 February 2019 at 7:30 am
Melbourne-based outdoors apparel brand, Team Timbuktu, is tackling the war on waste by recycling plastic bottles into leggings and raincoats that are made for adventure.

Contributor | 14 February 2019 at 7:30 am


A New Standard of Sustainability
14 February 2019 at 7:30 am

Melbourne-based outdoors apparel brand, Team Timbuktu, is tackling the war on waste by recycling plastic bottles into leggings and raincoats that are made for adventure.

Recycling and fashion traditionally haven’t been analogous terms, with the fashion industry creating excessive negative impact upon both people and planet. From using scarce non-renewables for fabric, to excessive plastic usage, and not looking after workers within the supply chain, there’s been a lot left to be desired.

Quantity over quality became the focus thanks to fast fashion, with clothing production up 400 per cent from just two decades ago, equating to 80 billion pieces of new clothing made yearly. This has put enormous strain upon the environment as brands have scrambled to continually source the cheapest product with the quickest manufacturing to keep up with demand.

But this is beginning to change thanks to initiatives such as the ABC’s War on Waste highlighting the issues within the industry, such as the 6,000kg of fashion and textile waste that is dumped in landfill in Australia every 10 minutes.

Another initiative aimed at changing consumer behaviour and creating a new standard of sustainability, is the Melbourne-based outdoors apparel brand, Team Timbuktu. It saves plastics from oceans and landfill recycling them into more sustainably made outdoors apparel and activewear.

Single-use plastics have been eliminated from its supply chain, with no plastic bags individually wrapping each garment or used for postage, with home compostable packaging used instead.

Founder Rhianna Knight was inspired to start the brand after completing a five-day solo hike in Patagonia, one of the most beautiful, yet most fragile parts of the world.

She was frustrated with the negative impact her clothes were making and couldn’t find a brand that didn’t compromise on sustainability or style, so she created her own.

A brand that encourages women to get outdoors and adventure more, not to be the fittest, fastest or best, but to do so for the fun, challenge and enjoyment of it.

With community in its roots, the brand launched from a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised $4,000 in the first four days, and finished with 122 per cent of funding required.

The first collection includes activewear made from discarded fishing nets and tech jackets made from recycled plastic bottles, showing the possibilities of sustainable innovation within the fashion industry. The crowdfunding backers are still involved, recently voting on their favourite designs for the next collection to be launched in mid March.

Team Timbuktu is bringing awareness to the issues and challenges within the fashion industry and highlighting the importance of creating more sustainable apparel supply chains that reduce our negative environmental impact.

By using innovative recycled fibres, such as material made from recycled plastic bottles up to 70 per cent less energy is used as opposed to traditional synthetic fabrics, which are derived from crude oil and extremely resource intensive in their creation.

The brand is on track to recycle 15,000 single use plastic bottles within its first year of business and raises the question, if a small startup can source more sustainable materials such as fabric made from recycled plastics, why aren’t all businesses doing so?

For more information visit


This article was updated on 16 December 2019 to reflect a name change from Mister Timbuktu to Team Timbuktu. 

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