Ecover unveils bottle made with 50% ocean plastic

Ecover has launched a limited-edition washing-up liquid bottle made from 50% ocean plastic, as the cleaning products firm outlines a vision to use 100% recycled plastic in all bottles by 2020.

The Ecover Ocean Washing-Up Liquid bottle uses 15% less plastic than its traditional design by mimicking the structure of micro-organisms found in the ocean

The Ecover Ocean Washing-Up Liquid bottle uses 15% less plastic than its traditional design by mimicking the structure of micro-organisms found in the ocean

The Ecover Ocean Washing-Up Liquid bottle goes on sale today (25 October) for £2 in selected Tesco stores nationwide. The bottle is made with 50% plastic waste collected from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, while the other 50% is also recycled. It uses 15% less plastic than its traditional design thanks to the use of biomimicry technology.

As part of the announcement, Ecover has vowed to introduce 100% recycled plastic to its main washing-up liquid range from 2018, and across all its products two years later. The Belgium-based company also aims to rollout alternative bio-sourced and biodegradable packaging by 2020.

Ecover long term innovation manager Tom Domen said the industry needs to “totally re-think” the way plastic is used and take more responsibility to ensure the material is re-used and recycled.

“We think industry should take more responsibility because a durable material like plastic for single use is systemically wrong,” Domen said.

‘Just the beginning’

Ecover is already an industry leader in this space, using 100% reusable, recyclable plastic for its bottles, with almost all bottles made from 25% recycled content and 75% renewable plant-based plastic since 2012. The first limited-edition Ocean Washing-Up Liquid bottle was launched in 2014, containing 10% ocean plastic collected by fishermen in the North Sea.

"It’s just the beginning but these are the steps we need everyone to take if we’re serious about cleaning-up of the ocean and reducing our dependence on plastic,” Domen added.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 95% of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80-120bn annually, is lost to the economy and on the current track, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050.

Sea change

Ecover aren’t alone in using ocean plastics in products, with companies like HP and Dell also committing to similar initiatives. Both Dell and HP work with non-profits such as Thread to work with developing companies to create collection systems that benefit the locals.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced earlier this month that one of its most recognisable brands, Fairy washing up liquid, would be packaged in bottles made completely from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic and repurposed ocean plastic. Set to go on sale in 2018, the bottles will consist of 10% ocean plastic, with the rest deriving from post-consumer plastics.

P&G also modified another of its best-performing brands, through Head & Shoulders shampoo. These bottles contain up to 25% PCR beach plastic and has seen the packaging change from white to dark grey to accommodate the new materials.

P&G's work on developing the recyclable shampoo bottle has seen the company shortlisted in the Recycling and Resources category for the edie 2018 Sustainability Leaders Awards. Revealed today, this year's shortlist comprises the very best initiatives, projects, products and people that are driving the bar on ethical, responsible and sustainable business ever higher. 

George Ogleby


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