Ecover to turn sea plastic into bottles in pioneering recycling scheme

Green cleaning brand claims plastic trawled from the sea can be used to create fully sustainable and recyclable packaging

Ecover will use plastic waster trawled from the sea to deliver what it claims will be the first ever fully sustainable and recyclable plastic. Photograph: Joshua Mark Dalupang/EPA

Ecover, the green cleaning brand, said on Thursday it will use plastic waste retrieved from the sea to create an entirely new type of sustainable and recyclable plastic bottle.

The Belgian company is working with plastic manufacturer Logoplaste to combine plastic trawled from the sea with a plastic made from sugar cane (‘Plant-astic’), in what it is calling a world-first for packaging. Products made from the packaging will go on sale next year.

But the company was unable to give details of how much plastic would be retrieved or what percentage of “sea plastic” would be used in the packaging.

Ecover chief executive, Philip Malmberg, said: “We won’t have a definitive figure on the amount we will retrieve we are just hoping to get as much as is possible and give fishermen an incentive to join the initiative and help clean the seas. We want to get the sea waste in as much of our packaging as possible – it will always depend on the amount and quality of the plastic they have managed to fish.”

According to the Marine Conservation Society, plastic debris accounts for almost 60% of all litter found on UK beaches, while much of it ends up in the sea. The scale of the problem was highlighted in a recent study by scientists who found a sperm whale that died off the coast of Spain last year had a stomach full of flowerpots, hosepipe and nearly 30 square metres of plastic greenhouse covers.

Ecover was set up in 1981 and the UK is now one of its biggest markets, generating some 40% of sales. The company said it would work with the industry-led Waste Free Oceans initiative and the UK recycling plant Closed Loop to recruit fishing communities working in the British waters off the North Sea to collect plastic.

Boats outfitted with special equipment will be able to collect between two and eight tonnes of waste per trawl for cleaning and recycling, while other fishermen will collect plastic debris mixed with by-catch and deposit it at special collection points. The sorted waste will then be sent to Closed Loop Recycling’s plant in Dagenham, east London, where it will be processed and turned into the plastic for the new bottles.

Trials have already begun on the exact mix of the three plastics that will allow the brand to deliver what it claims will be the first ever fully sustainable and recyclable plastic.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Any attempt to recycle this horrific waste in the sea is welcomed.

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  2. Fantastic!

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  3. I think it is good that they want to clean the ocean and even if it is just great publicity and others will imitate them and start cleaning the oceans to attract customers to their companies, if the oceans get cleaner it sounds positive.
    On the other side I think it is much more important to stop using plastic as often as possible, instead of saying that it can be recycled and reused in a good way. http://yourgreencity.com

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    • >Martha, I agree with your ‘other hand’. I would much prefer to see a return to glass and paper bags and do away with as much plastic as possible.

      Thanks for stopping by and the comment, appreciated.

      AV

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