MUSKEGON, Mich. — A young West Michigan business owner is helping preserve the Great Lakes, one t-shirt at a time.
Growing up near Pere Marquette Beach helped inspire Jackson Riegler to create his own clothing brand.
Now he’s debuting his new line, where each T-shirt contains about six bottles' worth of plastic waste recycled from waterways like the Great Lakes.
"We turn plastic waste from the Great Lakes into sustainable clothing," Riegler said.
Riegler is going into his sophomore year at the University of Michigan.
"I’ve lived in Muskegon pretty much my whole life, the Great Lakes have always been something I'm really passionate about, ever since I was young I have really cared about what the Great Lakes mean to my community," Riegler explained.
That's why he started his clothing brand “Oshki" a couple years ago.
"Oshki means “fresh” in Native American Ojibwe, and we donate 5% of everything we make to non-profits working to preserve the Great Lakes," Reigler added.
But now the shirts themselves, which sell for about $30, are helping the cause.
The polyester blend they are made of comes from plastic waste collected from the Great Lakes and other waterways in the United States.
"We have a relationship with someone who turns the plastic into polyesters yarn," Reigler said. "I’ve worked to develop those relationships with the recycling centers and the producers who we work with and we are also doing beach cleans up to take the plastic waste and turn it into our fabrics using the plastic that’s collected."
Tuesday night Riegler is holding a clean up the beach event at Pere Marquette.
At the end of the night they will weigh the amount of plastic they collect at a local recycling facility and ship it to the manufacturer to make more shirts.
Anyone interested can head to Area 12 Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.