Your brand cares about ocean plastic pollution. Right?
Well – so do your customers. In fact, 60% of the general public said that plastic pollution is the top priority for restoring ocean health!
So, what does this have to do with your advertising?
What if I told you that there was a way to remove ocean plastic with your ads?
Every time a consumer clicks through your ad, you remove one piece of ocean plastic.
They’re welcomed to your landing page with delight at the positive, tangible impact that you’ve created as a brand on their behalf.
In this article, we’re going to explore the ocean plastic pollution crisis, what innovative ways brands are tackling this issue and explore ways you can do your part.
The ocean plastic problem
One of the most durable materials that man has ever produced is plastic. Today, we are all aware that plastic can take hundreds of years to degrade, and research indicates that it is feasible for plastic to only partially degrade before becoming what we refer to as microplastic.
The health of our world and all its inhabitants would suffer greatly as a result of microplastics, which are microscopic pieces of plastic that can be consumed by marine animals and end up in their bodies and tissues.
Even though people are becoming more and more conscious of the dangers this substance poses to life, plastic pollution continues to be one of the main factors in the loss of marine species, health issues for both humans and animals, and the devastation of our ecosystems.
Some of the concerning ocean plastic pollution facts:
- Plastic waste makes up 80% of all marine pollution and around 8 to 10 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.
- Research states that, by 2050, plastic will likely outweigh all fish in the sea.
- In the last ten years, we have produced more plastic products than in the previous century.
- The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has stated that basically 100% of all plastics human beings have ever created are still in existence.
- Plastic generally takes between 500-1000 years to degrade. Even then, it becomes microplastics, without fully degrading.
- Currently, there are about 50-75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastics in the ocean.
- This plastic either breaks down into microplastic particles (see below), or floats around and ends up forming garbage patches.
Ocean plastic’s harmful consequences
The consumption and production of plastic are still at their highest levels today, but the recycling statistics are far from encouraging: just around 10% of the plastic we generate is currently recycled. The remainder either winds up in our oceans and environment or is burned, polluting the air.
Harm to wildlife
Marine life and ecosystems are severely impacted by plastic waste in the ocean. The most obvious one is the harm that plastic items—including asphyxia, entanglement, laceration, infections, and internal injuries—cause to animals when they come into contact with or eat them.
Harm to human beings
Plastics can disrupt the body’s endocrine system and cause developmental, neurological, reproductive, and immunological issues. They are also carcinogenic. Toxic pollutants that frequently build up on plastic’s surface and are then ingested by people through seafood provide another health risk.
Climate change and plastic pollution are two sides of the same coin since fossil fuels are used to make plastic, which has a significant negative impact on the environment.
Research has determined that the annual economic costs of plastic in the ocean range from $6 to $19 billion USD. These expenses are determined by how it affects fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and (governmental) cleanups.
Brands tackling ocean plastic
Creating a product that’s part stainless steel and part ocean-bound recycled plastic that also feels and looks good too is no easy feat. But Ocean Bottle have now created the most sustainably minded reusable bottle out there.
When you buy an Ocean Bottle, you also fund the collection of 1000 ocean-bound plastic bottles before they enter the ocean.
Collectors in coastal communities exchange this plastic for money and get access to social resources such as healthcare, education and financial security.
In partnership with ViewsForChange, Ocean Bottle are also removing ocean plastic with their ads.
Girlfriend Collective is an athleisure brand known for their colourful, comfy leggings made from 25 recycled bottles. All of the consumer trash or plastic is first sorted at the facility, cleaned chemically, crushed into tiny pieces, and then transported to a manufacturing facility where it is made into fabric.
According to their website, “as soon as our spinning mill takes the delivery of our raw PET chips from the recycling center, the bag of chips go through another wash and are dried. Once they dry, the chips get sent to a storage silo and are sent to a machine where the chips get heated up and extruded into long, thick spaghetti-like strands.” Afterward, they are chipped down into little pellets and reheated one last time, where the plastic is eventually cut into super fine strands and spun into spools where they get shipped off for knitting.
Girlfriend Collective has also launched the LITE Collection, a line that utilizes recycled fishing nets. The only real difference is that they’re thin and light, perfect for your sweat, spin or hot yoga classes!
Parley For The Oceans x Adidias
In recent years, the non-profit Parley For The Oceans and Adidas have collaborated to create high-performance sporting footwear and apparel using retrieved ocean debris including fishing nets and plastic bottles. The Parley’s A.I.R Method-based strategy is eliminating virgin plastic, intercepting plastic waste before it enters the ocean or landfills, and turning it into a hot new, environmentally friendly product.
As a result, the athletic apparel is weaved in and dyed in various colours, and each pair of shoes has an upper—the top portion of the shoe that covers the toes and foot—made of yarn and filaments of recycled plastics. As if that weren’t enough, each shoe also has a scannable chip at the heel that reveals the whole procedure it went through.
The original boardshorts made by New York-based Fair Harbor were created with just 11 plastic bottles. Clear bottles, which are the easiest to dye, are first gathered from the water and transported to China, where they go through a rigorous cleaning procedure. It is then melted down and turned into filaments, which are then converted into polyester to create an environmentally beneficial pair of boardshorts that contributed to the cleaning of the ocean you are swimming in.
Bureo is a group of surfers and environmentalists who are reusing plastic fishing nets through their Net Positiva programme in partnership with Patagonia Works, an incubator of innovative businesses in the business of delivering solutions to the environmental crisis. Their recycling programme offers fishing net collection locations to keep nets out of the oceans and collects abandoned nets, which make up 10% of all marine plastic pollution. These repurposed nets are currently being converted into skateboards.
What your brand can do
Remove plastics from your products
Even while tackling the scale of plastic in the ocean already is a huge feat; stopping it from getting there has to happen simultaneously.
Take a look at your manufacturing process and consider where materials can be replaced with renewable or recycled materials.
As consumers seek more sustainable products, it’s vital for brands to consider all elements of their products and packaging and make every effort to reduce plastics.
If your brand is advertising, you can now stop ocean-bound plastic with ViewsForChange.
For each click that your consumers take on your ads, a piece of ocean plastic is removed.
That’s not all, as you can communicate this very specific impact with your audience when they’ve clicked through, via an impact widget.