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Litter from oceans crafted into containers

United States – Following 18 months of close co-operation between US packaging brand designer Method and recycler Envision Plastics Industries, the first batch of ocean litter pellets have made the transition from concept to reality. But this is just the first step: shortly, they will be moulded into a Method-designed container which a major grocery chain is scheduled to start using this autumn.

Plastic made from ocean litter is much more brittle than that derived from traditional recycling and so Method’s co-founder Adam Lowry is particularly pleased with the success of the project. ‘Ocean scrap is very challenging, so we had to do a lot of testing and qualification work,’ he acknowledges. The two companies had to develop the ‘right blend’ of materials for the pellets, eventually arriving at the formula of 75% traditionally-recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and 25% ocean litter.

The material for the containers was collected during three large-scale beach clean-ups on the Hawaiian island of Kaui and is said to be a 50-50 mix of HDPE and polypropylene.

By manufacturing a sustainable product, Mr Lowry hopes to make a contribution to solving the plastics pollution problem. ‘If you don’t make new plastics, you don’t create new waste,’ he reasons. The containers represent only phase one of his plans. ‘In phase two,’ he explains, ‘we want to work with a lot of beach clean-up organisations all over the world and set up a network to intercept that plastic scrap before it goes to landfills. We can scale it much larger and that is the way to do it.’

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