Good practice

World’s first product packaging made from ocean plastic

World’s first product packaging made from ocean plastic
© PUNTO STUDIO FOTO AG, image #28870449, 2017, source: Fotolia.com
Resources:
Materials, Waste, Carbon
Sector:
Metal and plastic processing
Resource savings: Raw material:
Nearly all of Method’s packaging is made from 100 % consumer-recycled material, an effective way to reuse plastic and prevent it from ending up in landfills and oceans
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate, Advanced

Packaging inspired by sea urchins

  • Company sets up a business model to create packaging out of plastic marine debris
  • Pioneering recycling process for plastic marine debris is developed

Method, a cleaning products company, launched a new packaging line made from a blend of plastic recovered from the ocean and traditional consumer-recycled plastic. Scientists estimate that several million tonnes of plastic make their way into the oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting marine populations. The company decided to tackle this problem and develop a way to recycle the plastic debris into something useful.

Method employees have worked with volunteers from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the Kōkua Hawaii Foundation to hand-collect several tonnes of plastic from the state’s beaches, where the kinds of rigid, opaque plastic needed to make this packaging are most abundant. The company then partnered with Envision Plastics to develop a new recycling process to make the bottles.

The process allows rigid, opaque plastics recovered from the ocean to be cleaned, blended and then remanufactured into high-quality recycled plastic of the same quality as virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. For this packaging, METHOD left the plastic in its natural state – a grey colour that is a result of the chopping, washing and blending it undergoes during recycling. The inspiration for the package texture was drawn from a sea urchin, with small ridges running the length of the bottle.

Key benefits

The new product was sold as a limited edition with a portion of the proceeds going to the partner organisations, as part of Method's efforts to establish an ongoing business model and supply chain for collecting and sorting plastic marine debris.

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