Plastic production has been steadily increasing and it's everywhere - it's in your home, your office, your school - and the oceans. While it’s tough to guess exactly how much plastic is in the ocean, scientists think about 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year.
Unlike some other kinds of waste, plastic doesn’t decompose. That means that plastic can stick around indefinitely, wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems.
While we as consumers and businesses can say NO to single-use plastics, there are many brands out there who are working hard to collect and manufacture products from the mounting number of plastics in our waterways rather than making more of it. It's not only sustainable - it's smart.
Check out this list of companies making products with recycled ocean plastics:
Who they are: A for-profit company that was started by two friends with a love of the ocean who had their eyes opened to the magnitude of the ocean plastic crisis. The revenue from their products is used to pay employees, purchase vessels and equipment used around the world to clean up ocean plastics, and donate to nonprofit marine conservation organizations.
How much plastic have they removed: 7.7 million pounds
Who they are: Adidas is a multinational corporation that designs and manufactures shoes, clothing & accessories. Parley for the Oceans is an environmental organization and global collaboration network.
How much plastic have they removed: 5.6 million pounds
Who they are: A B Corp founded by 3 surfer friends to elicit positive solutions to the environmental crises our oceans face. They work together with fisheries and local communities to provide an incentivized program to collect, clean, sort and recycle fishing nets into their NetPlus™ material, creating positive solutions for end-of-use fishing nets, employment opportunities for local workers, and funding for community programs.
How much plastic have they removed: 1.4 million pounds
Who they are:Girlfriend Collective is a eco-friendly clothing company focusing on the production of minimal, luxurious, and sustainable active-wear. The company prioritizes ethical and sustainable production. Girlfriend Collective's factory uses no forced or child labor, mandates fair working hours and safe conditions, pays living wages, and allows workers to unionize.
What they make with the plastic:25 recycled post-consumer water bottles are used to make each pair of their leggings. 11 recycled post-consumer water bottles are used to make each bra.
Who they are:A well-known America information technology company that develops and provides a wide variety of hardware, components, as well as software and related services. HP has been at the top of Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics every year since 2011 due to their policies on sustainability, energy and climate and green products.
How much plastic have they removed: 1+ million pounds
Who they are:A small soap company making biodegradable natural cleaning supplies with a focus on minimalist product design. They raise awareness on the issue of ocean plastic pollution and with the help of beach clean-up groups, are cleaning beaches in Hawaii.
How much plastic have they removed: 2000 pounds of plastic from the beaches of Hawaii
Who they are:A small company formed by two friends who started with a big idea about making sunglasses out of ocean plastic. With the right work and life experiences behind them, they were able to collect the ocean plastic in ways that would have maximum benefit for the planet and communities in developing countries, while also contracting with frame manufacturers that could turn recovered ocean plastic into sunglass frames. They also reinvest 5% of net profits into research, education and development efforts towards stemming the impact of ocean plastic.
What they make with the plastic:They make sustainable sunglasses For every pair of sunglasses they sell, they pledge to remove another pound of plastic from the ocean.
Who they are:Started by two women (a open water diver instructor and a divemaster) who felt compelled to act after seeing the plastic consumption around the world growing at an alarming rate. They started Ocean Mimic, which is not only a charity, but a movement to protect our oceans. Their growing online community inspires people to take better care of our planet through plastic-free life tips and advice. They organize weekly beach clean-ups in Bali, inviting locals and tourists to help and realize the extent of the problem - working to pick up hundreds of pounds of trash at a time.
How much plastic have they removed: 26,500 pounds of plastic from beaches
Who they are:Outerknown is a clothing brand co-founded by pro-surfer Kelly Slater, makes effortless and casual beach styles rooted in sustainability and transparency. Over 90% of Outerknown's products are made from organic, recycled, or regenerated materials. 100% of their swim trunks are made with recycled or renewable fibers. The company's manufacturing partners also follow strict guidelines of safety and working conditions.
What they make with the plastic:Their Evolution line, which is made with Econyl regenerated nylon using recovered fishing nets and other ocean plastics, consists of swimwear, jackets, and hats. All of the buttons on their clothing is made from recycled ocean plastic in collaboration with Oceanworks.
Who they are:An American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. They were the first outdoors retail brand to start manufacturing fleece with recycled plastic bottles in 1993, and they've continued to be a leader of the movement throughout the decades since.
What they make with the plastic:Lately, the brand has been experimenting with using discarded fishing nets in their products, recycling them into nylon yard to make jackets. 80% of the polyester fabric used in their outdoor gear is recycled plastic.
Who they are:A shoe (and handbag) company that transforms marine plastic into stylish, wear-everywhere products to love. Their signature thread is spun from single-use water bottles. Their factory in China sets the sets the standard for sustainable, responsible manufacturing. Their bags and shoes are each 3D knit to shape—resulting in far less waste than typical manufacturing. They also ship with 100% recycled materials and offset their carbon emissions by partnering with The Envira Amazonia Project.
How much plastic have they removed: 62.8 million plastic water bottles
Who they are:Suga was born out of necessity by a lifelong surfer and yoga practitioner who was seeking a solution to an enduring problem. Non-biodegradable neoprene wetsuits present a unique challenge when it comes to sustainability. Suga worked with engineering experts to find and develop a way to recycle wetsuits into yoga mats. They work with surf shops to accept unwanted wetsuits (and old and used SugaMats) to recycle for their initiative.
What they make with the plastic:They make yoga mats; each mat is made from approximately one unwanted wetsuits.
Who they are: United By Blue is a company selling responsibly sourced & ethically manufactured clothing, bags, tools for a sustainable life. Founded on the idea of associating the sale of each product with a concrete environmental action. For every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups.
How much plastic have they removed: 3.4 million pounds