It’s up to us to make changes that are necessary to end the ocean plastic pollution. See how these organisations are on the mission to make a difference.
Plastic pollution in the ocean has a vast and harmful influence on its wildlife and habitats. From Arctic to Antarctic, it is found in every corner of the ocean.
Plastic is an exceptional material that has incredible benefits in our everyday lives and has contributed to many advances in some industries like health care, food safety and water storage. However, the majority of disposable consumer goods end up in landfills, littering not only landscapes, but also oceans.
In fact, around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters oceans annually. If no significant action is taken over the next few decades, the world may end up with 400 million tonnes of plastic waste by 2025. At this rate, there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
Luckily, there are startups and other organisations that are taking the lead, making the much-needed changes. Let’s take a look at some of the companies that are on the mission to clean and reduce the plastic in the ocean and save the planet.
Yardbird – “What ends up on ocean floors now lives outdoors”
The Minneapolis-based brand Yardbird is a startup that makes high-quality patio and outdoor furniture in part from recycled plastic sourced from the beaches and ocean-bound waterways.
The company brought more than 92,000 pounds of plastic in 2019 into their furniture and packaging and has already incorporated around 75,000 lbs this year– meaning almost 50 percent of every item of wicker furniture contains the recycled material. Yardbird has also proven to be an attractive company to invest in even in the midst of the global pandemic – the startup has raised $4.4 million in funding.
Yardbird carries a commitment to sustainability and works hard to minimise the industry’s impact on the planet. The company is also partnering with a non-profit organisation CarbonFund to offset its entire carbon footprint.
4ocean – Pulling a pound of trash from the ocean for each purchased bracelet
4ocean was founded by two American surfers who, after their surf trip to Bali, discovered beaches covered in plastic and watched waves filled with trash delivering even more garbage to the coastline.
The two men started a business model that would help them fund their mission to clean the ocean by creating a 4ocean bracelet made of at least 90 percent post-consumer recycled material.
The purchase of these bracelets funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean, rivers and coastlines. It also helps them pay workers, fund cleanups and spread the message about a massive plastic pollution problem.
Furthermore, the organisation has launched a Closed-Loop Program which aims to eliminate waste at the end of the product lifecycle by taking back 4ocean items that their customers no longer use or need and recycle them into new products. In addition, the company has already donated over $450,000 to marine conservation organisations around the world.
The Ocean Cleanup – The largest cleanup in history
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands that develops technology to remove plastic waste from the oceans and rivers. In fact, it is planning to extract 90% of floating plastic by 2040.
The organisation is developing a passive ocean cleanup technology that moves with the currents to catch the plastic as it is believed to be a much more reasonable solution than going after the plastic with vessels and nets which is a costly, time-consuming and labour-intensive process.
The Ocean Cleanup has developed the first scalable solution called The Interceptor™ to prevent plastic from going in the ocean from rivers. It is a 100 percent solar-powered construction that can be placed in the majority of the world’s most polluting rivers.
For more information on plastic pollution solutions, please see this article on integrating plastic into the circular economy, as well as how this scientist is turning plastic into other valuable materials. Also, click here to see how this teenager is making plastic out of shrimps.