The Ecover Ocean bottle, which holds Ecover’s washing-up liquid, is made entirely from recycled plastic, with 10 per cent of that plastic coming from the sea. Its launch is another step in Ecover’s plan to help create the conditions for a systematic clean up of the huge amount of waste plastic in the sea.

“The scale of the ocean plastic problem is enormous,” explained Ecover’s CEO Philip Malmberg. “Around 46,000 pieces of plastic are swirling around every square mile of ocean, and every year at least a million sea birds and 100,000 sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales die from eating plastic. There is no choice – we simply have to aim to clean up ocean plastic for good.

“Our ocean plastic bottle is just one small step on the way to solving the problem, but you’ve got to start somewhere – what we need now is to create a wider network of fishermen, recycling facilities and manufacturers to really make this happen. We also have to exploit existing supply chains and make it as easy as possible for manufacturers to use ocean plastic. At the moment the will is there but it’s just too much effort for many manufacturers to make it work.”

The bottle represents a joint initiative between Ecover and a number of leading firms in the marine conservation and packaging industries. Using fishing boats, the ‘Catch of the Day’ project from public-private foundation Waste Free Oceans enables European fishermen to earn money by collecting between two and eight tonnes of waste plastic per catch for cleaning and recycling.

Commercial production

As part of a trial project, this waste was then sent to Closed Loop Recycling’s plant where it was processed and turned into plastic, which was used by plastic packaging solutions firm Logoplaste to make the new Ecover bottles.

Chris Dow, CEO at Closed Loop, said: “Recycled plastic is a fantastic resource and as a result of this trial, we have proved with Ecover and the partners that we can develop innovative new ways of sourcing material and creating consumer products. We are hoping we will be able to build on this trial and take the scheme into commercial production.”

The development of this bottle follows Ecover’s 2013 pledge that it would use new types of recycled plastic in its packaging, which it hopes will set an example for other manufacturers to follow. This year, Ecover will be using one tonne of ocean plastic, which it aims to increase to three tonnes next year.

Malmberg concluded: “We want to be the catalyst for a cleaner ocean – it’s that simple. We can’t do it alone but if we join forces to find a way of making the supply chain work that delivers for the environment, fishermen, recyclers and manufacturers and doesn’t hit consumers’ pockets, then this audacious goal could actually become reality.”

Luke Nicholls

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