It's been a big month for plastic recycling. First, with the grand opening of a PET bottle-to-bottle plant, and now, the successful production of pellets made from ocean plastic litter.
In September, we reported that Method and Envision were teaming up to make bottles from ocean plastic litter. The first batch of pellets streamed off the production line at Envision´s Chino plant this month.
According to Plastic News, the two companies have collaborated over the last 18 months to create this first of its kind pellets from ocean plastic waste. The innovators faced some unique challenges - plastic from ocean litter is more brittle than traditional recycled plastic because of exposure to ultraviolet light and ocean degradation. The two companies had to develop the right blend of materials for the pellets, which initially will be made from 75 percent traditionally recycled high density polyethylene and 25 percent ocean litter. The ocean scraps also requires more hand-sorting because of the need to take out items such as buoys and plastic nets.
Both companies are based in California, and started this project to raise awareness on plastic pollution.
According to Adam Lowry, co-founder and CEO of Method:
"There is a tremendous amount of little fragments of plastics on the top layer of the ocean in the gyre and it is an amount of litter that is literally impossible to clean up. As long as we continue to make new virgin plastics instead of recycling plastics products, this problem gets worse. The real solution to the plastics pollution problem is to use the plastics we already have on the planet. If you don’t make new plastics, you don’t create new waste."
Parham Yedidsion, a co-owner of Envision Plastics, agrees:
"We need to educate people to recycle plastic packaging and products as opposed to throwing them away."