The companies say the plastic marine waste will be collected by European fishermen and sent to Closed Loop’s Dagenham, London facility, where it will be repurposed into a new type of packaging.
Closed Loop Recycling has already begun trials with Ecover to combine the recovered sea plastic with rHDPE and sugarcane. Ecover says it will begin using the new recycled plastic in 2014.
The company says it is working with Closed Loop Recycling to develop the material because the Dagenham facility is the only factory to recycle both PET and HDPE.
The recycled bottles are part of Waste Free Oceans, a plastics industry initiative supported by NGOs and European politicians. The program aims to reduce floating marine debris on Europe’s coastlines and encourage recycling. WFO will outfit boats with a special trawl that will be able to collect between two and eight metric tons of waste per trawl for cleaning and recycling.
In the past year, other companies including cleaning product maker Method and carpet tile manufacturer Interface have also begun recycling marine waste into new products. In the fall of 2012, Method launched a two-in-one hand and dish soap that comes in bottles made from plastic recovered from the ocean, blended with post-consumer recycled plastic.
Scientists estimate that several million tons of plastic make their way into the oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting marine life, Method says.
In January, Interface and conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) expanded a pilot project that turns discarded fishing nets into recycled material for carpet tiles.