15 Brilliant Products Made from Recycled Ocean Plastics
From clothing and accessories to furniture and household goods, choosing sustainably sourced goods is a step in the right direction for our planet’s future.
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Our planet is drowning in plastic
via amazon.com (3)
Many companies have committed to using recycled materials or fewer materials in their products or packaging over the years, but now there’s a growing list of products manufactured solely or in part from plastics sourced directly from our oceans. And this recycling revolution couldn’t come at a better time for our planet.
“With a dump truck of plastic waste entering our oceans every minute, the environmental impacts to this important ecosystem are devastating,” says Erin Simon, head, Plastic Waste and Business at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “From sea turtles to whales, plastic pollution is wreaking havoc on ocean life through ingestion, entanglement and habitat loss due to pollution.”
Simon explains that while upcycling products made from plastic waste is part of the solution, unfortunately, there is no single, simple way to combat this global crisis. “It will take a holistic approach across all sectors to arrive at a future where plastic materials are recaptured and used for another purpose instead of ending up in landfills or further damaging precious habitats,” Simon says.
In the meantime, you can be a small part of the solution simply by supporting companies who make sustainability their mission, including these 22 big companies that are getting rid of plastic for good.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
Norton Poing unisex sunglasses
It would be hard to imagine a day at the ocean without a great pair of sunglasses. How cool would it be to wear a pair that were crafted out of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) ocean plastics recovered from the canals and coastlines of Haiti? Norton Point’s Whitecap II unisex polarized sunglasses feature mirrored lenses and are made from recycled ocean plastic. The company also reinvests 5 percent of net profits into research, education and development efforts toward curtailing the impact of ocean plastic. Need more proof that this is a good idea? See how beautiful the world’s most polluted beaches used to be.
Adidas Alphabounce+ Parley running shoe
Starting at $69.98
If you could walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, why not choose Adidas? Its collection of Parley products—including the Alphabounce+ Parley running shoe—is made with Parley Ocean Plastic™️, which is collected by partner organizations on shorelines and coastal areas such as the Maldives. Last month, Adidas donated its first sustainable football field made from Parley Ocean Plastic to Miami Edison High School; it was made from 1.8 million recycled plastic bottles intercepted from coastal communities, beaches, and oceans. While you’re focused on being part of the solution, consider adopting these 20 tiny everyday changes you can make to help the environment.
Ocean Sole Sea Star
For more than 3 billion people worldwide, flip-flops are the only shoes they own. Unfortunately, these flip-flops are often discarded into urban dumpsites that seep into the earth’s waterways and descend into the oceans. Ocean Sole upcycles discarded flip-flops that wash ashore in Kenya—that accounted for more than half a million flip flops in 2017 alone—and local artisans turn them into colorful sculptures and handcrafted works of art. The company provides a steady income to nearly 100 low-income Kenyans and contributes 10 to 15 percent of its revenue to beach cleanups, vocational and educational programs, and conservation efforts. Interestingly, Kenya has the strictest plastic bag ban in the world and will be ridding the country of single-use plastics by June 2020.
Solgaard Shore-Tex Lifepack
No need to shoulder the burden of protecting our planet all by yourself. Let Solgaard’s Shore-Tex backpacks and fanny packs—made from plastic waste collected from beaches and riverways in the Philippines—help. Upon collection, the plastic is then cleaned, processed into flakes and heated into pellets, before being stretched into a yarn-like fiber and woven into a functional fabric. Items from this collection are shipped in a zero-waste packaging solution: water-resistant reversible tote bags. Additionally, Solgaard has pledged to remove 5 pounds of plastic waste from the ocean for every product purchased from its sustainable design portfolio, comprised of luggage, backpacks, bags, wearable tech accessories, and luxury timepieces. In 2019, the company pulled 75,000 pounds of plastic waste from the ocean. Find out 14 mysteries of the oceans scientists still can’t explain.
4Ocean Dolphin bracelet
Most people simply shake their heads at plastic strewn all over a beach. But, after coming across a heavily plastic polluted beach in Bali during a surf trip in 2017, Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze decided something more needed to be done. They started 4ocean and began cleaning the oceans themselves. Eventually, they began hiring local fishermen. Three years later, 4ocean has pulled 8 million pounds of plastic from oceans and coastlines, developed and introduced new ocean cleaning technologies, and has held volunteer-led beach cleanup events around the country. They’ve also introduced several new products—such as single-use alternative drinkware, sustainable apparel items, and dozens of bracelets—hand-assembled in Bali from recycled plastic and bottles. In addition to their headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, 4ocean has operational bases and crews in Bali, Haiti, and Guatemala where they are tackling the Rio Motagua river and the infamous “Trash Islands.” Speaking of dolphins, learn about the rarest dolphin species in the world.
Kevin Murphy Repair Me Wash & Repair Me Rinse Duo
Many companies use recycled plastic in elements of their packaging—but salon professional haircare brand Kevin Murphy is doing something more, by reinventing its signature squared packaging to be 100 percent made from recycled ocean materials. The plastic is collected via trawler boats, transported to a sorting facility, shredded and separated by plastic-type (to make sure all the contaminants are removed), washed, melted and processed into granulates, and then made into a shampoo bottle. The new packaging is projected to save the planet over 360 tons of new plastic each year; for every Kevin Murphy product sold, an average of 45 grams of plastic is removed from the oceans. The right way to travel, according to environmental experts, includes bringing your own hair care products to avoid using single-use items in hotels—so be sure to pour these into smaller, TSA-friendly bottles when you’re heading out of town.
Wharf Warp welcome mat
Maine and lobster go together like peanut butter and jelly—but a robust lobster industry also means lots of discarded lobster rope. So husband-and-wife team Jeanine O’Brien and Tim Barthelman launched Wharf Warp and set out on a mission to reduce our ocean’s pollution crisis by creating products from polypropylene rope (yep, plastic!) upcycled from the local lobstering community. In 2016, they reclaimed 12 tons of lobster rope that was part of a 2009 lobster rope buyback program and have artfully turned it into 100 percent upcycled vibrant doormats, wreaths, and garland. The doormats, for instance, are handmade by weaving 220 feet (or 6 pounds) of rope.
Sea Bags toiletry bag
Fishing nets and single-use water bottles aren’t the only plastic ending up in our oceans—sailcloth is another offender. Sailors, particularly racers, depend on top-performing sails, which means they get replaced when their life on the open sea comes to an end. Since there’s still a lot of life left in a “worn-out” sail, Sea Bags decided to design stylish and durable bags, totes and accessories made from recycled sailcloth containing Dacron, a polyester fiber (read: plastic). Through its recycling and upcycling efforts, Sea Bags has helped keep over 700 tons of sailcloth out of landfills and our oceans. Signs of hard sailing can be found on each product, making them one-of-a-kind pieces. These 13 beautiful islands may disappear before the end of the century due to rising waters.
Lettuce Grow Hydroponic veggie garden
Green thumb? Black thumb? It hardly matters with Lettuce Grow, a product that easily turns recycled milk jugs into food-growing gardens in your own yard. These self-watering, self-fertilizing hydroponic vertical vegetable gardens (called Farmstands) are made from ocean-bound recycled plastic. Lettuce Grow is on a mission to change our food system, working to close the gap on food mileage and resource waste, while helping re-establish an experiential connection with the food we eat. You can grow more than 200 varieties of fresh herbs, veggies, fruits and more in just three weeks, after spending only about five minutes on “farming” duties each week. And all of this is accomplished while using 95 percent less water than conventional growing methods. So far, the company has rescued about 80,000 jugs and saved 8 million gallons of water.