How can we rid our oceans of plastic? The problem with ocean plastic is multi-fold, the expense to recover it and then what do you do with it after that? Nobody wants more landfills especially in their back yard. Nobody wants the toxic ingredients of plastic leaking into the ground water. The question is what do you do with it?
I just Gotta Eco Ya
A few apparel companies are on the ocean plastic bandwagon. Parley For the Oceans with Adidas for their 3D ocean plastic shoes, G-Star RAW for the Oceans, Bionic Yarn by Pharrell William, Kelly Slater’s Outerknown clothing collection is 100% recyclable clothing made from reclaimed fishing nets. Levi’s started making jeans from discarded fishing nets. Another eco company Ecoalf from Spain has started a foundation to collect and reuse ocean trash. Employing local fisherman, who troll for trash instead of fish, they collect over a million pounds of trash.
Making clothing from ocean trash is a paradox. The great part is the reusing and cleaning up the ocean. Using local fisherman and communities, it provides jobs. The not so great part is washing ‘fake’ textiles releases tiny micro-plastics into the ocean, which are just as toxic. Dr. Mark Browne in 2011 published a paper in Environmental Science & Technology made a statement that a single synthetic garment can produce more than 1,900 microfibres per wash. (Source: Earth Island)
That said, what else can be done aside from clothing and art?
1.) Making Streets and Roads: The Plastic Road Concept was introduced last year by VolkerWessels. They said that asphalt causes 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions per year. If 100% of the plastic used to create PlasticRoads could come from the billions of plastic in the ocean, it could save the ocean as well as reduce carbon footprints.
2.) Ecoalf backpacks made from recycled fishing nets. Backpacks can last for years and people tend not to wash them.
3.) and 4.) Bureo has two products made from ghost nets: Skateboards and Eyewear. 32040 Feet of fishing nets has been recycled to date. This is from their ‘Net Positiva’ initiative, Chile’s first fishnet collection & recycling program.
5.) While Bureo is making Skatedecks, Spirare is or is working on making surfboards from Ocean Trash.
6.) Five Oceans secured funding on Kickstarter launched a ocean trash fin for surfboards.
7.) Net-Works has collected over 100 tons of waste fishing nets and recycled them into carpeting. Using local resources and building communities, they have ‘enabled fishing communities in developing countries to sell waste nets back into a global supply chain – Interface receives a fully recycled source of nylon for carpet tile production, and the local community receives long-term incentives to protect their natural environment.’
8.) Part of a Healthy Seas initiative and From Solvenia comes ECONYL® yarn, a high-quality raw material used to create new products, such as socks, swimwear, underwear, carpets, etc. (Source: Ghost Fishing)
9.) The Flip Flop Project by Ocean Sole: Way back in 1997 when the people of Kenya started collecting flip flops washed ashore on the ocean and making toys and art, roviding a livihood to local communities. In 2008, UniquEco recycled over 30,000 flip flops, bringing needed income to more than 100 women in the Lamu area. Lest you think that is not possible, I can pick up over 20 flip-flop shoes on a quarter mile stretch of the beach on a daily basis.
10.) Sea to See Plastic Project from Norton Point eyewear made from ocean plastic. They launched on Kickstarter and made a commitment to clean up 1 million pounds of plastic for every sunglass sold.
11.) Spark Architect’s concept is to build beach huts in Singapore with ocean plastic.
Image Spark Architects
12.) ByFusion is building construction blocks from ocean plastic.
13.) Swine Studio’s Sea Chair project also collaborated with fisherman to collect ocean plastic to make furniture.
14.) Back in 2010 Electrolux launched their Vac From the Sea. (Source)
North Sea Vac
15.) Method Dish and Hand Soap bottles are partially made with Ocean Plastic and recycled plastic. Method Dish is a B Corporation, certified Cradle to Cradle and animal friendly company.