Friday, September 23rd, 2011

A Brilliant Solution for Ocean Litter: Turn it into New Packaging

San Francisco-based Method, which makes and markets eco-conscious household and personal care products in eco-conscious packaging, recently announced a very timely innovation in green packaging – a bottle made with plastic from the North Pacific Gyre, commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Method Ocean PCR bottles use recovered ocean litter

The Ocean PCR bottles developed by Method and Envision Plastics are 100% post-consumer recyclate, with 25% coming from marine litter.

The bottles are 100% post-consumer polyethylene, wtih 25% of it being plastic retrieved from the Pacific Gyre. The result, as you can see in the photo, is attractive and functional packages made from what had been garbage — an outstanding example of recycling.

To create the line of packaging material now called Ocean PCR (post-consumer recycled), Method partnered with Envision Plastics, itself an innovator in recycling high density polyethylene (HDPE) at its production sites in Reidsville, NC, the company HQ, and Chino, CA.

The two companies each work from the idea that plastics have inherent value and are green and sustainable precisely because they can be recycled — over and over. Envision started with advanced, patented recycling technology as its core, then developed it to commercialize its EcoPrime line of FDA-approved food-grade recycled HDPE, and its Prisma custom color-sorted recycled HDPE resins. Envision says its clients include high-end users of PCR and leaders in the next generation of recycling technology.

Method, whose products are sold by Whole Foods, Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target, among others, made its first 100% PCR bottle in 2006. It now makes tens of millions of plastic bottles annually that contain no virgin plastic. “Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness that the real solution to plastic pollution lies in reusing and recycling the plastic that’s already on the planet,” says Adam Lowry, Method co-founder and chief greenskeeper — his real job title. He adds that, “We’ve created a usable bottle from ocean plastic and upcycled it into something useful that can be recycled again and again.” Turning garbage into high quality packaging certainly merits the term upcycling.

Method says it is focused on collecting enough ocean plastic to create a significant supply that it can turn into bottles, and was collecting usable plastic from several locations with volunteers on September 17, International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Many environmental blogs today say it’s impossible to recover marine litter, particularly plastics. Since Method and Envision are proving that marine plastics can be recovered and recycled, perhaps the people who throw away plastic products they use will get the message, and use the recycle bins. It’s their choice.

One Response to “A Brilliant Solution for Ocean Litter: Turn it into New Packaging”

  1. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find out all the dirty details behind this. I already discussed this in my blog

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