Functional and fun products made from recycled ocean plastic

Many products proudly promote the fact that they contain recycled ocean plastic. It could be plastic waste that has been dumped in the ocean. Or it could be ocean plastic that has washed up on shores. It could also be “ocean-bound” plastic waste heading into the ocean. Importantly, these products use plastic waste that would otherwise spoil waterways and harm ecosystems and wildlife.

A focus on reducing single-use plastics and eliminating plastic waste is essential to protect the planet. Recycling ocean plastic is also worthwhile, especially if it is used to make new items that are durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. By recycling plastics from the oceans, we reduce the need for more oil to create new virgin plastic. In addition, products that use this debris encourage the recovery of the plastic that litters our planet.

Here are some of the products and projects that use recycled ocean plastics.

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Recycled plastic lumber

Patrick K. Simpson, an engineer from Alaska, received a to agree from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a project that involves designing and producing boards from various hard plastic debris that floats. Some of his recycled plastic wood prototypes are made from 100% ocean debris. He is also working on a wooden product which is a mixture of ocean debris and other recycled plastics. Plastic lumber is for outdoor uses like stairs, fences, retaining walls, pavers and tables, he says.

Simpson’s hard plastic wood samples made from recycled ocean plastics. Image credit: Patrick K. Simpson

Simpson’s project also includes designing mobile recycling equipment so ocean plastic can be recycled where collectors pick up the debris.

ocean plastic mouse

“Recycled ocean plastic is made from plastic waste recovered from oceans and waterways, cleaned and turned into recyclable plastic resin pellets,” says the Microsoft website referring to the source of the material used in its wireless ocean plastic mouse. The mouse’s outer shell “contains 20% recycled ocean plastic by weight, equivalent to half a 16-ounce water bottle,” according to the Company Website.

Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse
Image credit: Microsoft

Plus, the mouse packaging is plastic-free and made from recyclable wood and natural sugarcane fibers.

Playing with ocean plastic

An adaptation of original Jenga wooden block stacking game, Jenga Ocean uses blocks formed from 100% recycled fishing nets that have been thrown into the ocean. The plastic blocks feature endangered sea life designs by surfer and artist Lake Buckley. Jenga® Ocean encourages players to “save the animals” with special edition rules.

Jenga Ocean recycled ocean plastic blocks
Jenga Ocean Blocks are made from 100% recycled fishing nets, which are a major source of ocean plastic pollution and dangerous to marine life. Image credit: Jenga® Ocean™ & Bureo

The product comes in 100% recycled packaging which is also recyclable.

Jenga Ocean blocks are made from recycled fishing nets from Bureo’s Net Positiva recycling program. Desk is the same company that brought us the world’s first skateboard made from recycled fishing nets.

rocking sculptures

ocean sole is an initiative in Kenya that removes litter from oceans and shorelines and provides job opportunities for Kenyans. Among those employed are artists producing vibrant sculptures of the elephants, rhinocerosand other animals flip-flops washed up along Kenya’s beaches and waterways.

Proceeds from the sale of these sculptures help support marine conservation efforts and Kenyan communities.

Rhino statue made from salvaged flip flops
Ocean Sole artisans transform littered flip flops into vibrant animal sculptures like this rhino. Image credit: Ocean Sole Africa

Tennis clothing

Adidas collaborate with Speak for the oceans use recycled ocean plastic waste in high-performance exercise equipment. Adidas calls him “…reinvented plastic waste, intercepted on remote islands, beaches, coastal communities and shorelines, preventing it from polluting our ocean.”

Adidas x Parley products include running shoes, sportswear and even a tennis line which includes shorts, dresses and other tennis apparel made with recycled ocean plastic

Adidas Parley Ocean Tennis Apparel
The Adidas x Parley line of sportswear features recycled ocean plastic. Image credit: Adidas

Toothbrushes and razors

Through his Ocean Plastic Preservation Initiative (POPi), Preserve offers razors and toothbrushes formed in part from ocean-bound recycled plastic.

Useful reminders of the plastic problem

Buying products formed with recycled plastic waste from waterways is nice. Better yet, use this product to remind yourself to take further action to protect the planet.

“Thirty-three billion pounds of plastic enter our oceans every year – that’s the equivalent of two garbage trucks full of plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute,” says Melissa Valliant, senior communications manager for Oceanean ocean protection organization.

“For consumers who want to help reduce the problem of plastic pollution, there’s nothing wrong with buying products made with ocean plastic, but the real power is in their vote and their voice,” says Valliant. “Reversing plastic pollution will take bold legislative change,” she says, and you can help by doing one of the following:

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