Each year, an estimated 14 billion pounds of trash are dumped into the world’s oceans. The Institute for Sustainable Communication estimates that plastic accounts for most of the waste in our water, and U.S. residents recycle very little of the recyclable plastic they use each year.
Such extensive oceanic pollution has many long-term implications. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “marine debris affects the marine ecosystem directly, through ingestion, entanglement, and alteration of the ecosystem.” Items made from plastic, such as bottles and fishing nets, are often mistaken for food by birds or fish, and they don’t go away over time. Plastic waste accounts for up to 80 percent of the total debris in the oceans.
But now, some companies are actively integrating ocean plastic into their products or their missions. Here’s a handful of products made by companies striving to reduce waste in our oceans. Each item is infused with ethical thought and a determination to make our oceans a little cleaner.
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Based in Los Angeles, Bureo has established itself as a highly innovative company through its transformation of discarded fishing nets into skateboards. The Ahi model is 27 inches long and nine inches wide and features a gripping scale pattern and durable concave deck. Each skateboard uses about 30 square feet of recycled fishing nets, which are harvested from Chile through its Net Positiva recycling program.
After the nets are washed, they are shredded and melted into small pellets which are then used in the skateboards.
Read more about Bureo’s process and mission here.
Before partnering with Bureo, Chilean company Karün was known for its Nature eyewear collection, which features shades made from the native wood of fallen trees. Now Karün has also introduced an Ocean collection, which features three designs that are all made from 100 percent recycled fishing nets sourced through Bureo.
Part of Karün’s profits from the Kayu and its other Ocean sunglasses go toward providing education programs and resources to the low-income fishing communities that are most affected by these forms of plastic pollution.
Originally dedicated to the fly fishing market, Colorado-based Fishpond has expanded its product portfolio to include items that supplement an active outdoor lifestyle and adventure travel.
The River Bank Backpack is one such product. While its exterior is built to last with cotton waxed canvas, it’s the internal material, crafted with Cyclepond material, that’s truly revolutionary.
Cyclepond fabric is made from recycled commercial fishing net and consumes 27 percent less natural resources in its production than other fabric options. Cyclepond also contributes to a 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gases.
The River Bank Backpack comes with a padded interior laptop sleeve and a top-zip closure lid with zippered compartments.
United By Blue features a wide array of clothing and accessories for both men and women, as well as home and outdoor products. While their products aren’t technically made from plastic waste, they do play an active role in getting trash out of the oceans.
For each purchase made, United By Blue removes a pound of trash from waterways and oceans. To date, United By Blue has removed 363,991 pounds of trash from the oceans over the course of 176 cleanups in 26 different states.
Their graphic tees (for both men and women) feature designs that are simple yet refined, and many of them evoke natural images. Some top sellers include the evergreen and starry bison tees.
Method joined forces with local volunteers and beach clean-up groups to collect plastic debris washed up onto the shores. Much of the plastic for these bottles is collected from the beaches of Hawaii.
The designers at Method view this project as both a means of working to fix a major environmental problem and raising awareness of ocean pollution so more people are encouraged to get involved. It’s a project for the future of sustainability.
Method’s soap has a biodegradable formula and is great for washing both dishes and hands.
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