Every day, the average person generates over four pounds of trash. Multiply that by the billions of people in the world who do not follow correct recycling practices, and a full eight million tons of plastic drifts into the ocean every year. To put this into perspective, if the world continues at this pace, by 2050, there will be more pieces of plastic in the ocean than fish.
So to help stop this problem before it gets any worse, some of the world’s biggest brands have decided to use this ocean plastic for good.
American technology company Dell has pioneered the trend by using plastics collected from waterways, beaches, and shorelines around the world to make microplastic items. After the plastics go through processing, refinement, and are mixed with additional HDPE plastics, they will be used to make packaging laptop trays for Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 notebook.
This program is the first of its kind for Dell, and the company is set to use about 16,000 pounds of ocean plastics by the end of the year. Dell has partnered with actor Adrian Grenier to promote the initiative, with the ultimate goal of creating a circular economy that keeps small microplastics out of the waterways for good.
Greiner explains to CNBC that ocean plastics aren’t just a problem for marine life, but for humans as well. He explains:
There are whales that have been beached and when there’s an autopsy, they find all sorts of things inside their bellies. And it’s not just whales, its marine birds and fish. By the way, some of us do enjoy fish and we also ingest that. So, scientists are finding plastic within humans because of the ocean problem.
Shoemaker Adidas is getting behind this recycling trend as well. They have developed a sneaker that can benefit the oceans in more ways than one.
The sneaker is made from a recycled ocean plastic upper, with a midsole that is 3D printed from recycled polyester and gillnet. A gillnet is a method of fishing where the net is hung vertically and the fish are trapped in it by their gills.
The company released 7,000 pairs of these ULTRABoost Uncaged Parley sneakers back in November but has big hopes of releasing one million pairs in 2017. According to Business Insider, their goal is to “rethink design and help stop ocean plastic pollution.”
Meanwhile, yet another brand, Norton Point, had a similar idea. They’ve created the world’s first sunglasses line made from collected ocean plastics. With every pair sold, they pledge to remove one pound of plastic from the ocean and donate 5% of every purchase to global waste cleanup and education efforts.
Unlike Adidas and Dell, Northern Point is dedicating its efforts specifically to the country of Haiti. This country has a severe water crisis, forcing Haitians to drink solely from bottled or bagged water. Because of this, plastic pollution runs rampant across the country’s waterways, so Northern Point sources their plastic from multiple Haitian collection agencies for a full 10 times the market rate. This high price helps to boost the value of recycling plastics while boosting the quality of life of Haitian plastic collectors.
But Northern Point doesn’t want to stop there. Within the next few years, they plan to expand their plastic collecting to China, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Bahamas.
So for those environmentally conscious consumers out there, these three do-good brands are full of options that can help you, Mother Nature, and the whales all at once. Nemo and his dad Marlin would be so proud.