The pollution caused by plastic products has received increased coverage over the years. In 2016, scientists reported that an estimated 5 million pieces of plastic, from microbeads and discarded fishing nets to plastic bags and flip-flops, are littering the world’s oceans.
This poses a threat to marine animals who often mistake the plastic products for food and end up starving to death or choking on it.
However, there is some hope on the horizon as more and more companies are looking for ways to clean up the world’s oceans and reuse the plastic that’s recovered from it.
- Activewear companies such as Nike and Adidas have begun using recovered plastic in their clothing and shoes to make them more durable. A couple of years ago, Adidas created a 3D printed running shoe made from recycled ocean plastic.
- Pharrell Williams’ GStar Raw company takes ocean plastic and turns it into eco-friendly yet fashionable clothing such as jeans, jackets, T-shirts and shoes. The company takes plastics found on shores around the world and turns it into a fibre that can be weaved and made into stylish clothes.
- Singapore’s East Coast Park has been earmarked as the home of several brightly coloured beach huts that will be constructed from discarded ocean plastics. Taking inspiration from the colourful beach huts on South Africa’s Muizenberg beach, a company called Spark Architects hopes to transform ocean plastic into tall artichoke-shaped structures to provide both colour and functionality to the island nation’s coastline.
- Plastic Bank from Vancouver Canada aims to turn ocean plastic into both a reusable material to clean up pollution and to let people take it to a repurposing/exchange centre where it is used as currency. In this way, they also aim to tackle poverty.
- US-based eyewear company Norton Point is working in conjunction with Plastic Bank to turn recovered ocean plastic into trendy sunglasses.
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