posted October 23, 2012 by alexis |
check it out, one of our new ocean plastic bottles enjoying the view at home in hawaii. in fact, the ocean plastic used to make this very bottle was collected from a nearby beach. maybe even by the guy holding the bottle. he helped.
we’re so proud.
posted October 9, 2012 by alexis |
the day has finally arrived. after much hubbub behind the scenes here at soap headquarters, our ocean plastic bottles have hit shelves at Whole Foods. why are they gray, you ask? well, the combination of recovered ocean plastic and post-consumer recycled plastic results in a uniquely gray resin. lovely, huh? even cooler than that, the ocean plastic used to make these bottles was collected by method employees.
read the whole story at methodhome.com/ocean-plastic.
posted June 18, 2012 by alexis |
our oceans are faced with a dire problem. staggering quantities of garbage, much of it non-degradable plastic, is polluting the environment and harming marine populations. and the problem isn’t going away anytime soon. more plastic washes up on beaches everyday.
as a small soap company, we know we can’t clean up the world’s oceans. but we can raise awareness about the issue and use our business to demonstrate smart ways of using and reusing the plastics that are already on the planet.
we think the best way to do that is to prove that solutions exist, even at a small scale. later this year, we will be launching a product in the world’s first packaging made from a blend of PCR plastic and recovered ocean plastic. recovered from beaches by method employees, in fact.
so this saturday, june 23 we’ll be at it again, working alongside Oah’u-based groups Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kokua Hawai’i Foundation to conduct a coastal cleanup at Kahuku’s James Campbell Wildlife Refuge.
we’ll also be filming and interviewing several community leaders and folks involved in the local awareness, education and prevention of ocean plastic pollution affecting hawaii’s beaches and communities.
if you’re interested in joining us at the cleanup, contact katie molinari at firstname.lastname@example.org. stay tuned for the release of our first ocean plastic bottles later this year.
happy national oceans month.
posted May 29, 2012 by alexis |
last week we had the pleasure of meeting the illustrious capt. charles moore, pulitzer-prize winning environmental researcher and founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. moore spoke to us about the effects of plastic in our oceans and his discovery of the great pacific garbage patch, “where plastic outweighs zooplankton, the ocean’s food base, by a ratio of six to one.”
it’s estimated that several million tons of plastic make its way into our oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting our marine populations. this is a serious issue. unfortunately, it’s one that many people don’t think about until they’re confronted with trash on their beaches.
capt. moore is committed to changing that by raising awareness for our ocean’s inevitable plight if we don’t change our relationship with plastic. a kindred spirit indeed. watch highlights from moore’s talk. and then read more in his book, Plastic Ocean, available here.
posted December 6, 2011 by alexis |
when I think of hawaii, I think of honeymoons, don ho, pristine beaches and frozen drinks with little umbrellas stuck in them. I certainly don’t think of plastic.
on the mainland, we don’t hear much about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a large expanse of the ocean in the middle of the pacific where millions of pounds of trash collect and damage to the fragile ocean ecosystem. yet it’s easy to ignore a problem that’s thousands of miles away, even if it is at least twice the size of texas. but for the hawaiians, this problem is right in their backyard. or, more specifically, it washes up into their backyards.
that’s why 200 parents showed up at a local hawaiian school on a thursday night to learn about how to reduce plastic consumption from their daily lives (complete with an impromptu Jack Johnson performance, no less).
it’s also why nearly 600 people, with five method employees lucky enough to be among them, showed for a beach cleanup bright + early on saturday morning. side by side, we spread out along the coast and filled bags with washed up fishing supplies, crates, buoys, discarded bottles, toys, cups and even the odd toothbrush.
we were proud to be there, beside surfers, parents and native hawaiians, all working together to keep their beaches as clean as the pictures on postcards.
the result? a huge dumpster full of garbage, a thousand pounds of plastic headed to the recycling center for use in method’s new ocean plastic bottles and cleaner, safer beaches. for now anyway.
because the problem isn’t going away any time soon. more plastic washes up on the beach every day. the only real solution is to turn off the tap; stop producing products made from virgin plastic. we know our ocean plastic bottles won’t solve the problem either. but we hope they will help bring awareness to the problem.
so what can you do? volunteer at a beach cleanup. say no to products made from virgin plastic. and recycle, always.
posted September 19, 2011 by alexis |
this article was originally featured on treehugger. but since the lovely adam lowry authored it, we thought it should have a home here too. so, without further ado…
In 2006, Method reached a milestone – we made our first bottle entirely from post-consumer recycled plastic. In the 5 years since then, Method has continued to innovate, and we now make tens of millions of plastic bottles a year that are completely free from virgin plastic. After having achieved 100 percent PCR in nearly every Method bottle across our entire business, we started asking ourselves a simple question: what is the ultimate post-consumer material?
This led us to ocean plastic, and another question: what if we could gather some of the plastic floating in the North Pacific Gyre and make bottles out of it? We would be taking trash and upcycling it into something useful that could be recycled again and again. And more importantly, it could serve as a platform for communicating the real solution to humanity’s legacy of plastic pollution: using the plastic that is already on the planet.
Well, we’ve done it. Recently, Method, in partnership with Envision Plastics, was able to make prototype bottles out of a novel and potentially profound new plastic material, Ocean PCR. It is 100 percent post-consumer HDPE, 25% of which is plastic we have collected from the Gyre.
When we first embarked on this audacious challenge, we were told it was impossible – there would be no way we could get the high quality the Method brand demands from plastic made entirely of recycled bottles and ocean trash. Proving these naysayers wrong required putting aside the reasons why something won’t work, and inventing new solutions. Making bottles out of ocean plastic has meant overcoming two primary challenges:
1) How do we make a high quality bottle out of degraded, brittle plastic that has been floating in the ocean for a decade or more?
2) How do we establish a supply chain for a material that’s floating in the ocean 2000 miles off the West Coast? To solve these problems, Method looked to the experts.
Envision Plastics is one of the leading recyclers of HDPE in the world, as well as the company that manufactures the PCR material in Method’s laundry detergent bottles. When Rudi Becker (a packaging engineer at Method) and I first approached Envision about our idea, we did so with apprehension, not knowing how our business partner would respond to such a crazy idea. To our delight, the people at Envision, already in the recycling business, were well aware of the issues of our plastic pollution problem, and eager to do something big to address it.
Since then, Envision has donated line time, invented new processes, and busted through barriers to help us engineer Ocean PCR that is the same quality as virgin HDPE. In fact, an entirely new process has been created that allows us to clean, blend, and remanufacture low quality material into high quality plastic.
On the supply chain side, we tapped into a network of beach cleanup organizations, particularly in Hawaii. Hawaii is of the most remote land masses on the planet, and happens to sit at the southern edge of the Gyre. Because of the ocean winds and currents in the region, much of the plastic from the Gyre ends up washing up on the beaches of Hawaii.
The strategy was to intercept the plastic that these beach cleanup organizations collect, normally bound for landfill, and divert it to Envision. Having participated in some of these cleanups ourselves, we have picked up bleach bottles from Japan and household items from mainland USA on beaches in Hawaii. During one cleanup, a Hawaiian monk seal and a green sea turtle crawled up on the beach while we were picking up plastic. Two endangered species, making their home on a remote beach made of plastic.
A few steps remain before our Ocean PCR bottles bottles can land on store shelves. Our first task is to collect enough usable plastic to create a significant supply, a task we are taking up with several volunteer organizations on September 17th, International Coastal Cleanup Day.
The next step will be scaling it up and bringing this to market, something we hope to do in partnership with a major US retailer. Imagine the proposition of this Method product – for every one you buy, you take 15 grams of plastic out of the ocean. Pretty cool.
The point, of course, is not to clean up the Gyre. The scientists who study this problem will tell you there is no practical way to clean it up; the area is just too remote, and the plastic too small. The goal is to raise awareness about the issue of plastic pollution, and to point us toward the solution already in front of us – using the plastic that’s already on the planet. That way, more people will ask for it, and more manufacturers will make it. And perhaps we’ll be one step closer to a more verdant and sustainable world.
For more on this
posted June 15, 2011 by rudi |
while the photo below is an extreme example, many of us have been confronted with ever increasing amounts of plastic that wash up on our coastlines. it’s estimated that several billion tons of debris continue to be added to our oceans each year. cue cringing.
while many folks are actively working to try to clean up the trash that ends up on beaches, we couldn’t help but ask the question: what’s happening to all the plastic that’s recovered from the ocean? couldn’t we divert this plastic and reuse it?
last year method got involved with the California Coastal Commission and helped support California Coastal Cleanup Day at a beach here in South San Francisco (note: CA Coastal Cleanup Day will be taking place September 25th this year). we thought that if we could sort the right types of plastic from all the trash, we could use it to make new bottles. ocean plastic is especially challenging because of its exposure to the elements, which changes its composition + melting temperature, making it harder to process. this is why pre-sorting is especially important. so after hours of trolling the shores of San Francisco Bay, we had gathered several hundred pounds of rigid plastic deemed suitable for the experiment.
we then sent the collected plastic down to a recycler in LA who was kind enough to help us with our project. the process we undertook is really no different than what happens to all those bottles you throw into the recycling a home.
1. first, the material is chopped up into smaller pieces, resulting in a pile of plastic bits that look something like this:
2. then the little bits of plastic are put into a giant washing machine that removes any junk that may have come along for the ride. at this point in the process, many recyclers will optically sort the material and grade it by color (a step we did not take with the ocean plastic).
3. the chopped up and cleaned ocean plastic is then dried and put through an extruder—a machine that heats up and blends the material into a molten state. which results in this rather unimpressive looking blob of material.
3. but we’re not done yet. we still don’t have the plastic in the right form to make bottles. the last step is to make “pellets.” which are just little round disks of plastic. on the left, you can see plastic pellets made with our ocean plastic and on the right, plastic pellets that are made from typically recycled bottles. the color difference has to do with the fact we skipped the step of optically sorting the plastic. so we ended up with a mix of colored plastic, resulting in the black pellets you see below.
finally it was the moment of truth. could we take the ocean plastic pellets and actually make a bottle with it? (dun dun dun) after a number of tries, we were met with success. the bottle on the left was made with the ocean plastic and the bottle on the right was made with standard PCR. they’re a lovely pair, aren’t they?
this is an exciting first step, and without a doubt proved to us that ocean plastic can reincarnate itself as another bottle. we’re now working on creating a sustainable supply chain to continue doing just that. stay tuned!