They also plan to cut their own plastic use significantly.
Recently, I wrote about a dish soap bottle made from recycled ocean plastic. Similarly, Katherine has written about skateboards and sunglasses made from old fishing nets.
But I confess I had been thinking about the utilization/reuse of ocean plastics as a relatively niche concept—something more focused on awareness raising than putting a real dent in the amount of trash in our seas.
A new initiative called NextWave, which includes Dell, General Motors, Trek Bicycle, Herman Miller, Interface, Van de Sant, Humanscale and Bureo, aims to explore ways that companies can incorporate ocean plastics into their own supply chains, and simultaneously cut their use of plastics across their operations. The goal, reports Business Green, is to divert as much as three million pounds of plastics from being washed out to sea. The effort is being organized by Lonely Whale, the same people who recently succeeded in eliminating 2 million plastic straws from the city of Seattle.
Now it's important to note that NextWave is focused more on "ocean-bound" plastics than on plastics already in our oceans. That means diverting plastics from rivers and coastlines in designated priority areas. But if we do eventually bring technologies for cleaning the ocean itself to scale, then initiatives like this will play an important role in laying the groundwork for market demand for recycled ocean plastic too.
Meanwhile, in the UK, The Guardian reports that two major supermarkets are supporting the idea of a mandatory plastic bottle deposit scheme. Similar schemes in Norway have resulted in a 98% recovery rate on plastic bottles.
Could it be that the tide is finally turning (sorry!) on ocean plastics? Below is a video about the NextWave initiative.