Our oceans like never before are full of plastic with an estimated 8 million tons of it entering the seas every year. Plastic is one of the most agile and pervasive materials ever created used in everything from packaging to clothing, to cars to furniture. But our throw-away lifestyles along with poor governance and recycling infrastructures, overfishing, and chemical runoff has finally caught up with us. Now business, brands, manufacturers and petrochemical companies need to step-up and proactively innovate solutions to help remove, recycle and repurpose.
On Saturday, June 8, World Ocean Day will be marked by volunteers, nonprofits, UN agencies, and brands all dedicated to tackling this issue. With a deluge of plastic pollutants, degrading ocean species, coral bleaching, and additional ecological problems there is no time to waste.
On a larger scale brands have become more than aware of this crisis and now see tackling ocean waste as an opportunity. Below are a few examples of innovative schemes and partnerships:
- Adidas has produced sneakers from recycled ocean waste and hopes to use only 100% polyester by 2024 (please check out our previous blog from January for further information). Additionally, they have the Run for the Oceans challenge via the Runtastic (Joyrun) app, where for every kilometer run by participants $1 will be contributed to Parley, a cooperative of innovators dedicated to solving ocean pollution.
- OuterKnown, a sustainable clothing brand has a similar project. Co-founded by surfing legend Kelly Slater, it creates board shorts, bathing suits, and other beach gear from reclaimed fishing nets.
- Dell has created the first commercial-scale global ocean plastics supply chain, processing plastics found on beaches and using them as part of their new packaging system. They now manufacture 100% recycled products with 25% of the material coming from the oceans.
- Lastly, Loop, developed by the international recycling firm Terracycle, is a refillable packaging which can be collected, cleaned, and reused. All eliminating the need for throwaway single use cling wrap.
- The global Ocean Cleanup, the largest of its kind in history, is dedicated to removing the vast array of plastics and other pollutants from the world’s oceans, and especially the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Ocean Cleanup relies on an army of volunteers and partnerships from Maersk, Deloitte, Boskalis and plenty of other companies provide well needed funding and equipment for their projects.
- The Ocean Conservancy, another NGO dedicated to ocean sustainability boasts the largest shore based cleanup which is conducted every year. In 30 years of work it has collected 300 million pounds and more than 350 types of items. It has partnerships and funding from the Coca-Cola Company and Bank of America.
- Lastly Oceana, has received corporate donations from Gray Whale Gin, Toms, Ubisoft, and Burgess Yachts. With a network of 4.4 million active global supporters it has mobilized the largest group of ocean advocates in the world.
The Grounded Team will be taking part in several events during the week leading up to World Ocean Day. Some of us will be setting sail on the peace boat voyage on June 7, while others will be attending events at UN headquarters in New York, and even getting their hands dirty on shore based cleanups along the beach. While we encourage brands to take part in environmental issues the task of solving ocean pollution isn’t limited to just companies and NGOs.
Things you can do
- Support companies who use recycled ocean plastic.
- Minimise the plastic you buy (products and packaging) just say no to bags at the grocery store.
- Join a local beach clean-up group (or start your own) and/or pick up any plastic litter you see on the beach/street/etc.
At Grounded we value the fact that we uniquely connect businesses and organizations with the SDGs, sustainability programs, and other high impact action. Reach out to us to find out how we can help your organization can take part in a similar project and turn purpose into profit.