It is estimated that there are between 100 and 150m tonnes of plastic already floating around in our oceans.
That amount of plastic is harming the marine environment, not to mention the fishing and tourism industries. But can anything be done? These companies are certainly having a go!
From making sculptures out of flip-flops to building skateboards out of old fishing gear, these companies are full of quirky solutions for recycling the plastic in our seas.
If the oceans die, we die
And so Parley was born: ‘a collaboration space where creators, thinkers and leaders from art, film, music, fashion, technology and science partner up with major brands and environmentalists to raise awareness and to collaborate on projects that can end the destruction of the magic blue universe beneath us: Our Oceans.’
Adidas trainers made from sea waste
Footwear giant Adidas has already collaborated with Parley to produce a concept pair of trainers that are made entirely out of ocean waste and discarded fishing nets found in the sea. For a closer look at these trainers visit the Living Geography blog. Living Geography blogger Alan Parkinson told us: “I hope these trainers actually get beyond the concept stage and are manufactured, so that the message about ocean plastics spreads wider.”
Want a pair? You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled later this year!
Fishing net skateboards
Bureo Skateboards was founded by three men who each have a shared love for the environment and skating. The skateboard decks they produce each require 30 square feet of fishing net. Fishing nets are recovered from the oceans via the Net Positiva initiative, which Bureo created to combat ‘the detrimental impacts of discarded fishing nets’.
We spoke to Greg Swienton, who explained why they settled on skateboards: “We quickly found out that fishing nets make up an estimated 10% of the plastic found in our ocean, we wanted to do something about that. We needed to develop a high-value product that was scalable, something that we could deliver to the masses, so we landed on skateboards – something fun and different.”
For more information and a video about Bureo skateboards and the men behind the project visit UK Complex.
Method for the plastic madness
Method is a company that finds uses for old plastic bottles. The company recycles and upcycles plastic bottles found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a filthy area in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas.
All of Method’s plastic bottles, which they provide for other eco-friendly companies, are made from 100% recycled plastic. Method’s upcycling projects include the creation of the Junk Raft, which sailed from California to Hawaii and was made from 15,000 plastic bottles and an old Cessna fuselage.
Adam Lowry, the co-founder of Method, is an active campaigner and says, ‘We’re removing the excuse for companies to say they can’t use recycled plastic because it’s not high-quality enough or too expensive. That’s B.S. – we’re doing it with ocean trash.’
Ocean Sole flip-flops
Flip-flops are cheap and simple. They may be easy come, easy go (when the strap across the middle breaks), but the problem is that thousands of them end up floating in the oceans.
Step forwards Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that collects the flip-flops from the ocean to create colourful animal ornaments and jewellery, which raise awareness about the amount and type of garbage found in our oceans. Ocean Sole’s next challenge is to upcycle the flip-flops to create new footwear.
We spoke to Joe Mwakiremba from Ocean Sole, who told us: “As a marine conservation organization, we collect flip flops and create masterpieces. Recycling these lost soles helps to keep our oceans plastic-free and reduce the threat to marine life.”
The Sustainablog discusses Ocean Sole flip-flops and provides some alarming stats: ‘Plastic items are nearly indestructible, they can drift for years, and for thousands of miles’.
Inspired by the Parley initiative, Pharrell Williams and G-Star Raw have released a denim clothing range made from found ocean plastic. Pharrell Williams already owns a clothing company called Bionic Yarn, which uses recycled plastic to produce clothes, so he is setting an example to other incredibly wealthy celebrities.
Pharrell was recently interviewed about the new clothing range by Ocean Views. He explained: ‘We [Bionic Yarn and G-Star Raw] are trying to infiltrate the entire spectrum of fashion, high-end and low. It’s a part of sustainability and the cause is to never throw anything [plastics and trash] into the ocean again’. Check out the interview in full on the National Geographic website.