Session Chair: Kahi Pacarro, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii

This session looks at ways in providing open source technology and creating value from marine debris to fund education and removal that reduces its occurrence.

For thousands of years the remnants of giant trees not growing locally have washed ashore in Hawaii. These giant logs represented a gift from the Gods and were crafted into glorious Sailing canoes that endured historical journeys. This marine debris that had drifted thousands of miles to land was reinvented into a treasured vessel revered by Hawaiian civilization. With the recent return from a three year journey around the world, the Sailing Canoe Hokulea reinvigorated the possibilities of taking detritus on the beach and creating value that transcends location and time in order inspire Malama Honua (Taking care of the Earth).

Debris from abroad continues to be delivered to the coastlines of Hawaii but it is no longer looked at as a gift from the Gods nor an opportunity to explore the outer world. But collaborations between Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Method Home, Parley for the Oceans, Envision Plastics, Matson, The Polynesian Voyaging Society, ByFusion are aimed at changing that narrative.

Method created the first large scale project of recycling Ocean Plastic aimed at inspiring industry to utilize more post-consumer plastics into their packaging. If they could create a bottle out of degraded Ocean Plastic, others could at least stop using virgin plastic. Parley for the Oceans took it further and brought a higher value to Ocean Plastic by collaborating with businesses to influence supply chains and products. Funds from sales of products incorporating Ocean Plastic go back to the locations where the debris was removed to further removal and education efforts. Ocean Plastic has value. Ocean Plastic has a new purpose. Ocean Plastic can be part of the Solution.

The sessions contained within will explore the techniques, logistics, lessons learned, and paths forward to taking what was once looked at as trash on the beach or ocean community and turning it into a valuable commodity. It will focus on local solutions that can be implemented at low cost in remote locations along with tackling large scale projects that bring mass value to the end product through incorporating Ocean Plastic into the manufacturing process.

This session will benefit the conference because it will contain proactive solutions and will provide an open source path forward that anyone can implement upon returning to their community. Moving debris from our coastlines into our landfills represents high risk of reintroduction into the Ocean while incineration gasifies the debris and introduces it back into the atmosphere. Upcycling plastic pollution creates goods needed locally and can create highly desired products that teach valuable lessons that reach a broader audience far from the Oceans. Sales of products fund local removal and education efforts while also inspiring better consumer and manufacturer behavior.

Most importantly we will share the ultimate focus how Ocean Plastic can help to reduce consumption, improve local cleanup capacity, and slow the tap of plastics flowing into the oceans through education. Currently working on creating a collaboration between Surfrider and Sustainable Coastlines to host a large scale cleanup in San Diego that takes the debris collected during the cleanup and turns it into a product(s) to be displayed at the conference.




Treating marine debris as the resource that it is: Sorting and recycling after cleanups

presenting: Doorae Shin (Kokua Hawaii Foundation & Plastic Free Hawaii, United States); authors: Doorae Shin (Kokua Hawaii Foundation & Plastic Free Hawaii, United States), Natalie McKinney (Kokua Hawaii Foundation & Plastic Free Hawaii)

Being “wasteful” is defined as “using or expending something of value carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose.” The wasteful culture of modern humans is a huge source of the plastic pollution crisis, but marine debris and all plastics are valuable resources. The rampant use of plastics originated in excitement for the qualities of its durable, lightweight and waterproof nature. This convenient and low-cost material is clogging rivers and streams and washing up on beaches around the world. As millions of global citizens clean their coastlines and find massive amounts of plastic, we can partner with businesses and organizations to create value from the countless tons of plastic pollution. Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation collaborates with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, other local organizations, and national companies to make this happen.

With a large percentage of marine debris from Hawaiʻi beach cleanups now being recycled through the Parley for the Oceans program in partnership with Adidas, there is great potential for coastal communities around the world to increase sorting and recycling efforts following river, stream and beach cleanups. These efforts greatly reduce the need for incineration and landfilling and allow these valuable resources to continue circulating through our economies, which creates jobs and reduces demand on the production of virgin plastics. Sorting and recycling programs at river, stream and beach cleanups empower and inspire volunteers while giving businesses opportunities for innovation to offer solutions to global issues. Sorting also allows for data collection that can inform international reporting and ultimately help achieve the overall goal of more extended producer responsibility. A short video is available that highlights the sorting and recycling efforts at Hawaiʻi’s beach cleanups.


Community Based Waste Management and Up-cycling Enterprises – Watamu, Kenya

presenting: Steve Trott (Watamu Marine Association, Kenya); authors: Steve Trott (Watamu Marine Association, Kenya)

This initiative, developed by Watamu Marine Association brings multiple stakeholders together in a collective effort to reduce threats caused by plastics and other marine debris pollution, impacting the Watamu Marine Park beaches and marine environment.

The purpose is to help provide clean beaches and a solid waste free environment for the benefit and welfare of the local community, the local tourism industry and the marine environment. Small business enterprises have been created from recycling, reuse and upcycling of plastic and glass waste which are sourced from beaches, hotels and residents. A plastic recycling facility operates a plastic crusher machine and provides part time employment to 25 local community group members as beach cleaners, waste collectors and recyclers. Their income is provided by sales of processed plastic to recycling industries and through Watamu tourism industry sponsorship.

Artwork and sculptures are also created from plastic and other marine debris and sold in local shops and hotels boutiques. Another innovation is up-cycling glass and plastic bottles to make building blocks for constructing walls. The enterprises are an example of successful cooperation between community organisations and the local tourism industry in creating solid waste value chains. The results are cleaned up beaches and reduced environmental threats and employment opportunities for women and youth. The enterprise has received national and international acclaim and awards and is set to become a regional showcase for a combination of best waste management and environmental practices, social enterprise and sustainable tourism. By creating dynamic waste value chains, local communities in African coastal resort towns can play a significant role in waste management and reducing marine pollution in their local area.


Creating Value Through Emotional Connections To Marine Debris

presenting: Brittany Webster (Planet Love Life, United States); authors: Brittany & Rob Webster (Planet Love Life, United States), Rob Webster (Planet Love Life)

Planet Love Life upcycles salvaged ALDFG from beach & ocean cleanup projects around the world. Our wearable marine debris products are a physical and visual reminder of the marine debris issue. Each bracelet represents a different marine animal that is negatively affected by marine debris and can be used as a platform to create positive conversations leading to solutions of these issues. By providing a connection between marine debris and specific animal species of marine life, we are then able to create an emotional connection with consumers and the impact their actions have on the marine environment. The sales and profit from of our products can help to fund local cleanups and provide a fundraising tool for non-profit organizations.


Waste To Wonder

presenting: Brodie Neill (Waste To Wonder, United Kingdom); authors: Brodie Neill (Waste To Wonder, United Kingdom)

Designer Brodie Neill is passionate about the need to reframe the conversation on ‘waste’ and has developed a new architectural and design material from ocean plastic composite that he has called ‘Ocean Terrazzo’.Working with an international network of scientists, researchers, environmental experts, beachcombers, engineers, artisans and manufacturers to collect and reconstitute small fragments of plastic washed-up on the shores around the globe to produce a terrazzo like composite. Brodie launched the reconstituted material in 2016 at the inaugural London Design Biennale where he brought the global issue of ocean plastic the round table of the international design forum.Brodie has since developed the Ocean Terrazzo into a range of furniture pieces titled Flotsam that were recently launched as part of his Drop in the Ocean exhibition at the London Design festival 2017. With ongoing research led projects in the field of ocean plastic debris that can be shared in an insightful and inspirational format Brodie will present an array of development imagery and the final objects that elevate microplastics from waste to wonder.


Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii – Making waves in Hawaii, seeing ripples in your home town. Increasing Awareness Internationally.

presenting: Shannon McCarthy (Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, United States); authors: Katherine Ziemann (Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, United States), Kahi Pacarro (Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii), Sarah-Jeanne Royer (Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii)

At Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH) our mission is to inspire local communities to care for their coastlines through hands-on beach cleanups. Located in Hawaii, a world-famous tourist destination, SCH saw the opportunity to raise awareness beyond our local communities. Marine debris is a global problem, people all over the world want to visit Hawaii, so why not raise awareness and inspire people from around the globe?

In 2017 SCH launched a voluntourism program that hosts travelers from around the world. Our guests pay a very economical rate in exchange for an all-inclusive volunteer program. SCH provides airport pickups, accommodation, meals, orientation, and transportation to and from volunteer projects monday through Friday. The primary focus of our IVHQ program is raising awareness of plastic pollution through beach cleanups, analyzing the collected debris, discussing solutions, and working in the upper watershed to identify connections.

One of our goals is to emphasize the message that clean beaches start at home. This experience inspires our international volunteers to change their lifestyles and consumption patterns while in Hawaii and encourages retention upon returning home. In addition to cleaning beaches, we partner with local non-profits upland in our watershed to show how water flows to the oceans so visitors consider the many ways they can take action in their hometown even if they don’t live on a beach. One of the successes of this program is seeing many of our visitors share what they’ve learned upon returning home to an even larger audience and raising awareness world-wide.


Commodifying Plastic Marine Debris as Art Supplies

presenting: Bette Booth (Splash Trash Intl., United States); authors: Bette Booth (Splash Trash Intl., United States)

If research assures that it is safe, plastic marine debris has enormous potential to be commodified as art supplies. The number of artists using plastic marine debris as their medium is increasing exponentially every day. Recent public art installations alone, such as whale sculptures in London, the Philippines and Costa Rica, used thousands of pounds of repurposed marine debris. The quality and variety of current marine debris art indicates that plastic marine debris would be an interesting medium for a variety of other artists and craftspeople as well. See video of sample marine debris art supplies.

Two potential marine debris markets include:

  • Expanding and ‘professionalizing’ specialized marketing to artists working in plastic marine debris as their primary medium: Several artists already ask local beach cleaners to collect specific materials for an envisioned art piece, for example, twenty pounds of black plastic or a bucket of microplastics. This market could be expanded and commodified, putting a value on the plastic that includes the collector’s labor, materials and overhead.
  • Introducing plastic debris as art supplies in retail stores: For example, small and medium-sized plastic pieces could be packaged in in different colors for mosaic artists; rope and net could be packaged for weavers and other fabric artists; and interesting plastic items such as soldiers, farm animals or doll parts could be packaged for use in collages or mixed-media art.

This paper describes, analyzes and provides recommendations for commodifying plastic marine debris as art supplies in these two markets.


Eco Innovation

presenting: Michael Long (Parley for the Oceans, United States); authors: Cyrill Gutsch (Parley for the Oceans, United States)

As scientific understanding of marine plastic pollution deepens, public awareness grows. Although the threat has risen in the global consciousness, solutions remain elusive. Recognizing the complexity of the issue, Parley for the Oceans set forth a new approach: a strategy driven by creative collaboration and eco innovation, based on the fact that every second breath we take is generated by the oceans. The strategy — Parley AIR: Avoid, Intercept, Redesign — is shifting the conversation and driving change across industry, government, and in the creative communities that mold reality.

Designer and strategist Cyrill Gutsch founded Parley in 2012 to provide a collaboration network where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate to end their destruction. Parley is known for renaming sustainability into ‘Eco Innovation,’ a concept realized through high-caliber collaborations and the introduction of Ocean Plastic™, a range of premium materials for the sports, fashion and luxury industries made from upcycled plastic debris collected on high seas, beaches and in remote coastal communities.

Parley understands current plastic is a design failure, seeing the long-term solution for marine plastic pollution not in recycling, but in the redesign of the harmful material, processes and thinking. As a catalyst innovation, Ocean Plastic™ provides an immediate replacement for new, virgin plastic that raises awareness of the issue while also providing a funding mechanism that allows for the implementation of the Parley AIR Strategy in four key areas: Communication and Education, Direct Impact, Research and Development, and Eco-Innovation.