Making Products from Ocean Waste

Making Products from Ocean Waste

By now, pretty much everyone knows plastic discarded in the ocean is a disgusting and repulsive problem. It is a significant issue and one that is growing.

Whatever the cause, it is up to all of us to do something about it. Plastic and all sorts of other garbage makes its way into streams, rivers or the ocean and then spreads across the globe.

The Oceanic Society says that plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to ocean health worldwide. Between 4 and 12 million metric tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of shoreline on earth! And that amount is projected to triple in the next 20 years. Think about that for a moment. The Oceanic Society has a very good list explaining seven ways in which each and every one of us can help reduce plastic pollution. For a start, we can all use less (or not at all) single-use plastic products (like water or soda bottles).

Plastic is the most common cause of ocean pollution. Plastic waste come from a variety of land and ocean-based sources and gets into the water in many ways. Plastic waste cause terrible damage to ocean, rivers, streams and lakes, including anything that lives there.  And Columbia University reports that plastic waste may take up to 500 years to decompose. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US Federal Government offers a number of very useful infographics for visualizing information related to ocean waste.

One of the many beneficial and worthwhile ways to decrease the amount of rubbish and waste in the ocean is to remove it and process the plastic waste to make useful products that people can buy. Multiple ideas by designers, artists, artisans and manufacturers are underway. These individuals and companies are making merchandise from recycled polyester, post-consumer plastic and waste recovered from the ocean. Some of the profits from the sale of finished products are sent to organizations cleaning up the ocean. It seems like a win-win to us.

Here at New Earth Garden we doing our bit in two ways. First, we are compiling a selection of well-designed, fashionable and sustainable apparel, products for the home and other items that are made from material that might otherwise contribute to mounting rubbish dumps or landfills or add to the plastic waste that we already see dumped in the ocean. Supporting manufacturers and suppliers who make and sell these products will help fund more and more clean-up operations and spread the awareness that something has to be done.

Secondly, as a new ecommerce company that believes in ‘giving back’, we are in the latter stages of developing  a program where we provide a percentage of our sales income to organizations who are working hard to remove plastic and other waste from the ocean. Some of our manufacturers already contribute a portion of their sales their favorite ocean-focused charity and we plan to do the same. We are in contact with several organizations about this program. Once we have decided which organization would most benefit from our support and we have worked out all of the details, we’ll share those particulars with you.

Here ‘s a brief selection of products we have found that meet our criteria as being made from recycled, upcycled or sustainable content (click through links for more info):

  • Women’s lightweight long body pullover hoodie.  Comfortable and cool feeling. Feel good and look good all while helping rid the world's oceans and landfills of unsustainable plastics. Made from post-consumer waste (40 plastic water bottles).
  • Men's Seduced by the Seas Sky Blue Sustainable Pocket Tee Shirt. Super soft single jersey gives this shirt a light and soft feel.  A lay flat collar with a touch of spandex ensures this shirt will always look great no matter how many times you pull it on and off.  Chest pocket with reinforced seams.  Each shirt is made of fabric comprised of 4 recycled plastic bottles.
  • Women's Plastic Sucks Sustainable Short Sleeve Tee. This women’s custom-made t-shirt is the best t-shirt you’ll ever own.  Our shirt derives its softness from its composition, made of 95/5 single jersey poly/spandex fabric that is a recycled rPET blend.  Every purchase helps save the planet.  Doesn't it feel good?  Buttery soft, with a flattering slim fit.  Each shirt is made of 4 recycled plastic bottles.
  • Classic Geometrical Blue Sustainable Swim Trunk. Become the hot spot at the beach in style with your beach shorts printed in blue triangles with pop up bright colors. The perfect abstraction of a beach day from high and above. Made from 10 plastic bottles (500 cc.)
  • Kids My Sundays Sustainable Crewneck Tee Shirt. These tees are maxed out with comfort and a unique design.  Environmentally friendly from a sustainable fabric. Each shirt is made of 4 recycled plastic bottles.

The conversion of recycled plastic into clothing and other products has many benefits. Numerous countries around the world do not have an efficient waste or recycling management program, leading to huge amounts of trash dumped into the ocean or large landfills.  At New Earth Garden, we firmly believe that removing plastic and other trash from the ocean and elsewhere and converting it into something useful will not only reduce the amount of trash in existence, but it will create employment too.

 For sure, there is much more research and work to do on this subject, but creating products from trash may well be a start to maximizing the awareness of the problem, removing waste from the oceans and a healthier planet.