UPDATED August 26 with a new application on the last page
Packaging and products made from plastic ocean debris are likely the industry’s ultimate example of lemonade made from lemons. A nearly perfect circular economy model is made real when plastic bottles, for example, made from recovered ocean plastics are turned back into plastic packaging.
Whether it’s seen as a glass half full (good, more debris removed!) or half empty (it’s a drop in an endless sea of debris!) proposition, it seems we’re inundated with a growing amount of plastic-products-from-marine pollution, a sampling of which you'll find on the following pages. These appear in essentially chronological order as a kind of chronicle of durable ocean debris recovered and remade into usable plastic products. These are found primarily published by PlasticsToday along with—pardon the expression—current examples from other sources such as sister publications and press releases; sources are PlasticsToday unless otherwise noted.
This market was launched in 2012 when eco-minded, forward-thinking cleaners company Method (San Francisco) entered what were then virgin waters in pioneering packaging from marine pollution.
Appropriately enough, the eureka moment for the company to consider doing such a ground-breaking thing was sparked by a Method executive’s visit to the unexpectedly not-so-pristine beaches of Hawaii.
The company decided to do something about the litter, and literally deployed employees’ boots on the sandy shores in coordinating efforts with local organizations. Volunteers hand-collected several tons of the type of rigid, opaque plastic needed to make this packaging that are most abundant. The debris was shipped to California after sorting. Method had partnered with recycler Envision Plastics to develop a new recycling process to make the bottles.
The rest is history because it marked the birth of a brand-new-age, environmentally minded cottage industry. For more on Method’s landmark effort, see Ocean Plastic: Method turns pollution into packaging, published November 2012.
Next: The sporty side of marine plastic