KEY CONSIDERATIONS: The demand for recycled ocean plastic products has grown significantly in recent years, creating commercial opportunities that also informs and engage the public.
MORE INFORMATION: See more at OceanWorks.
An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic trash ends up in our oceans every year. Most of this plastic debris sinks or remains in the world’s five gigantic gyres, however a significant percentage of it washes onto our coastlines daily. After sunlight photodegrades the plastic into small pieces, aquatic life and seabirds mistake these fragments for food and ingest them. Millions of birds, turtles, fish and other species are seriously affected by plastic marine debris. If we fail to clean up the plastic and stop the continued pollution of the oceans, we are facing the potential extinction of many sea life species and the interruption of the entire ecosystem.
We can only end marine plastic pollution in the long run if we invest in smarter alternatives to plastic and establish new industry standards that prevent plastic waste from leaking into nature. But there are also remedial solutions needed now, that include collecting marine debris that already exists in nature, and converting waste into secondary products to maximize the value of the material.
CASE STUDY EXAMPLES
Oceanworks® is a marketplace for sustainable materials, specializing in hard-to-access ocean and averted plastic. The Oceanworks platform is built to reduce demand for new virgin plastic. Oceanworks has created buttons, for example, made entirely from plastic harvested from the shores of various locations in Central America. See other examples of Oceanworks’ innovative product line at: https://oceanworks.co/blogs/ocean-plastic-product-updates
Waste Free Oceans
Waste Free Oceans (WFO) collects and transforms ocean plastic into new, innovative products. Their “Ocean Trash Catchers” can capture up to 8 tonnes of floating marine debris per pass. WFO connects brands to their network of plastic recyclers and converters, to build the bridge in transforming marine litter into new products. Based in Brussels, Waste Free Oceans also operates in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. See https://www.wastefreeoceans.org/about for more information.
Parley Ocean Plastic® Program
The “Parley AIR” strategy is designed to end the fast-growing threat of marine plastic pollution by Avoiding plastic wherever possible, Intercepting plastic waste and Redesigning the material itself. As part of the AIR approach, Parley created the Ocean Plastic Program to “give plastic waste new life in ways that reduce the use of virgin plastics and catalyse awareness and funding for long-term change.” The following initiatives are part of the Parley Ocean Plastic Program:
Ghost net Retrieval: discarded fishing nets continuously kill sea life when left in the oceans, but they become impactful messengers for the cause when recycled. After being retrieved from high seas and shorelines, the former ghost nets get upcycled to create signature products.
Clean Waves: a creative fundraising platform aimed at boosting the use of eco-innovative materials in fashion and industrial design by incorporating underused forms of upcycled marine debris intercepted from islands, coastal communities and the open ocean.
Ocean Plastic: a range of premium materials for the sports, fashion and luxury industries made from intercepted and upcycled marine plastic debris. Product examples include:
See https://www.parley.tv/oceanplastic#parley-air-strategy-1 for more information.