Ocean Plastic 101: What to Know
When we set out to find a more sustainable packaging option for Solette, we learned A TON about plastic. Hours upon hours of research followed with multiple phone conversations with our partners happened. There is so much miss-information on the internet and we want to share with you what we learned from trusted sources so that YOU can be an informed consumer.
We must warn you...it's a lot to digest, but together we're going to help clean our oceans and turn things around.
The Journey of Ocean Bound Plastic
When a consumer is done using plastic it becomes “post consumer” plastic. Sadly, a lot of this waste is mis-managed and ends up in our waterways which lead to the ocean. Communities 0-50km from the shoreline are more susceptible to have this mis-managed waste end up in the ocean. Companies like our partner Oceanworks collaborate with these communities and work with recycling centers to collect, sort, and process plastic waste into new packaging for companies like ours.
Ocean Bound vs. Ocean Plastic vs. PCR
All recycled plastic is considered post-consumer recycled (PCR). Ocean bound plastic is a type of PCR, and is classified based on its proximity to the ocean. If a package is made with PCR it's still super beneficial to the planet, but in order to deem something ocean plastic, it needs to fall within zones 1-5 based on the below Oceanworks graphic.
The Benefits of Re-Using Ocean Bound Plastic
Where do we begin? Once plastic makes its way into the ocean, it starts breaking down and eventually becomes what is knows as micro-plastic. It becomes more difficult to collect, harder to repurpose, and ultimately more dangerous to animals. So, collecting plastic waste before it even gets to the ocean is crucial to stopping this cycle. The other major benefit is that by re-using this collected plastic to make new packaging, it reduces the demand for virgin plastic which means we are dramatically lowering carbon emissions.
How Do You Know if a Company's Claim is Authentic?
Organizations like OBPCert provide certifications that provide authenticity. OBPCert verifies the collection, processing, and transformation of ocean bound plastic, giving consumers confidence in the products they purchase. By the way, Oceanworks is the first OBPCert company in the US for ocean bound plastic!
Why Not Use Glass Packaging and Avoid Plastic Completely?
In many cases, our products are used in the shower or bathroom where it's just too dangerous to have glass. We also think re-using already made plastic is helping to clean up the problem instead of just making new glass containers. Also, glass has its own dirty little secrets and it really isn't as sustainable as you may think. We will save those details for another blog post coming up.
Making A Difference
Overall, by supporting companies that use ocean bound plastic in their packaging, you are helping make a huge impact on the environment. Even if your favorite product is still packaged in PCR that's a huge win for mother nature. Look for certifications and ask companies about traceability of their PCR and ocean bound plastic packaging. Transparency is one of our values here at Solette so if you ever want to know something just ask!
All image credit to Oceanworks.