Organic cotton is always better than recycled plastic clothing
Choose organic over recycled plastic clothing if you can. Recycled plastic clothing sounds like a great idea: using up plastic waste to make items for people to wear, to stop landfill waste. It is a good idea, but with a few caveats.
Firstly, you need to launder items (like synthetics) in a microfiber catch bag. These don’t even capture all the microplastics that break off in the machine (you bin them, but even then they could wash away at landfill, if it rains). Showing that the best answer is always natural fabrics. However, these do capture a lot of them.
Regarding concerns on plastic next to your skin, Dr Martin Mulvihill says that it takes 38 days of a water bottle being heated to reach unsafe levels for water you ingest (not fabric on your skin). So he says unless you are working out in 150 degrees, wearing recycled plastic clothing is not likely to be a problem. A lot of yoga clothing is made from recycled plastic, so be aware of this if you do ‘hot yoga’, which involves working out in a very hot room.
Where recycled plastic items are good, are for things that you don’t wash. If you use it up to use items that you wipe clean (don’t put in the washing machine), then indeed it is a good idea. So things like umbrellas, for instance. You aren’t going to do anything with them but keep them in an umbrella stand, so this is a good choice.
Finally, be careful with using towels made from recycled plastic. If you lie on the beach and fibres break off, they are going to go off to the sea when the tide comes in. So save such towels for your sunbed.
Same with sunglasses, swimwear etc. Great ideas, but if sunglasses (or flops made from recycled plastic) fall overboard or you lose a flop in a wave, same problem. So use rubber flops and bamboo sunglasses, and save the recycled plastic versions for when you’re nowhere near the sea!