In a recent lecture by a woman who tried to live without plastic we have heard just how difficult a life without plastic is – it seems almost impossible to avoid it entirely and it creates a lot of waste.
A lot of the plastic in the world ends up in the oceans and has created several plastic garbage patches with millions of tons of plastic. Over time, through ocean currents and sunlight, the plastic breaks up into tiny pieces. Fish think it is plankton and eat it. Through storms, marine litter ends up along the coastlines where seabirds eat it, too. The animals are dying a cruel death and eventually plastic ends up in our food chain. What can be done about the problem?
First of all, we need to avoid plastic wherever possible and replace it through other materials. For example, if everybody used a refillable drinking bottle instead of disposable plastic bottles, we could save an enormous amount of waste.
Second, the oceans need to be cleaned and the plastic waste that is retrieved needs to be dealt with somehow. Reusing the plastic that has already been produced to avoid the production of even more plastic is a possible solution that should get more attention by the industry. So the concept “Avoid – Intercept – Redesign”, promoted by the organisation Parley for the Oceans http://www.parley.tv/oceanplastic/#parleyair seems to be a good idea. They try to raise awareness about the state of the oceans and engage in projects to protect the oceans. In cooperation with non-profit organisations, the industry and volunteers, they retrieve marine debris from oceans, beaches and shorelines and work together with scientists, designers and the industry to get the plastic debris recycled into yarn and fabric to create e.g. clothes, beauty products or material for packaging and construction.
One of the projects Parley for the Oceans launched together with adidas were the jerseys which the players of FC Bayern Munich and Real Madrid wore recently. They are made from fibres from recycled ocean plastic. So far it is more like an initiative to raise awareness for the waste problem and the products are limited, but it would really be great if more synthetic clothes and shoes were made from recycled plastic in the future.
There are also other companies selling products made from plastic waste, like e.g. backpacks by ergobag or Fjällräven and clothes by Patagonia.
I think products made from plastic waste are good in two ways: First, we take the waste from the oceans and reuse it so we reduce the production of more raw plastic; second, we get good things we can use (and which hopefully will not end up in the ocean again).
Bayern Munich played in jerseys made from ocean garbage (plastic bottles)