Plastic pellets made from ocean debris

I’ve written several stories about the dirth of plastic in our oceans and creating gyres around the world. The problem with collecting it has always been that the majority of it consists of small fragments, making it difficult to simply scoop up. Also it’s more brittle due to its exposure to ultraviolet light and ocean degradation.

But a partnership between Method, the “green” laundry product company, and recycler Envision Plastics Industries LLC. has done what no company’s done before. Pellets made partly from ocean plastic debris rolled off Envision’s Chino, California’s plant assembly line on March 1st.

The result of eighteen months of cooperation between the two companies, these black pellets were then packed into 1,200-pound boxes. The next step will be for them to be molded into a Method-designed container that will hit a major grocery chain this fall.

Known as “Plastic Beach”, Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach is constantly inundated with plastic trash from the ocean

Currently, San Francisco-based Method’s packages are made from 100 percent recycled materials.

Adam Lowry, Method’s co-founder and CEO said the new package will be for one of their existing products – in an “iconic” shape. Method-brand products include household and personal-care items. The new container will be made by a major plastics packaging blow molder.

To gather the ocean plastic, Method employees – working with school groups and beach-cleaning groups – collected the material for the initial production run from three very large beach cleanups in a little over a year.Although the company isn’t sure how much plastic material it recycled from Kahuku Beach, Hawaii, n one sweep, “We collected 3,700 pounds of plastics in two hours,” said Rudi Becker, Method’s packaging director and chief resonator, who helped collect the plastic litter with several dozen school-age children on that trip.

Method will use the black pellets made partially from ocean debris to create a new “iconic” package

“There is a tremendous amount of little fragments of plastics on the top layer of the ocean in the gyre and it is an amount of litter that is literally impossible to clean up,” Lowry said.

“We need to educate people to recycle plastic packaging and products as opposed to throwing them away” said Parham Yedidsion, a co-owner of Envision Plastics.

Lowry said the pellets are the first phase of the 12-year-old company´s plan to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem.

There’s tremendous work ahead to really be able to make a dent in the amount of plastic in our oceans. Yet the opportunity to turn an environmental disaster into something useful is there. With more companies diving into upcycling these days, who know! Perhaps we’ll see ocean plastic turned into things like garage doors and gardening equipment. It could happen.

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2 Responses

  1. There is a great deal of work to do and the debris from The Japanese tsunami is on the way to Hawaii.

  2. Wow! This is such a wonderful idea, I have watched documentaries on the problem with plastic in the pacific, anything that can be done to clean up our earth and also reuse the waste is just fantastic! I will keep an eye out for the bottles! 🙂

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