Ecover to turn sea waste into new generation plastic packaging

Leading green cleaning brand Ecover is claiming a world-first in packaging in 2014 – a new generation sustainable and recyclable plastic incorporating post-consumer recyclables (PCR), ‘Plantastic’ – plastic made from sugarcane, and plastic recovered from the sea.

The announcement was made in London last week by Ecover’s Chief Executive, Philip Malmberg, as part of Ecover’s ‘Message in our Bottle’ campaign.

The company’s ambition to launch “an entirey new sustainable plastic” follows a series of packaging innovations from the company in recent years including the launch of 100% sugarcane-derived plastic – Plantastic – in 2010 which for the first time completely eliminated the need to use fossil-resourced plastic.  This innovation was swiftly followed by a further move to tackle the growing plastic waste mountain, resulting in its most recent announcement of the inclusion of PCR into Plantastic bottles.

06/03/2013 London,UK. CAPTIONCredit: Professional ImagesThe planned development of new plastic packaging is, says Ecover, is in keeping with its commitment to innovation and tackling issues with waste and recycling while also “future-proofing” against the issues of tomorrow.  Malmberg explains:  “Sustainability is a never-ending journey.  Solve one problem or tackle one issue and it simply leaves you free to solve the next.  Our focus on continual innovation means that we are always pushing boundaries.  We’re never satisfied and we don’t ever expect to be.  That’s what makes our business so exciting, and what ensures that we continue to deliver above and beyond.  In relation to packaging that means we’re committed to using the right materials at the right time, changing and revising as part of a continual improvement journey.”

Plastic debris accounts for almost 60 per cent of all litter found on UK beaches and it is widely recognised that vast amounts of beach waste ends up in the sea.  Working closely with Waste Free Oceans (WFO) and UK plastic recycling plant Closed Loop, Ecover will be working with fishing communities to collect plastic and reintroduce it into the recycling chain via its bottles. Trials have already begun on the exact mix of the three plastics which allow the brand to deliver what will be the first ever fully sustainable and recyclable plastic.

Sea waste collection will be carried out as part of existing fishing trawls with Waste Free Oceans engaging Europe’s fishing community in cleaning up floating marine debris then bringing it back to land for recycling and sorting.  Boats outfitted with a special trawl will be able to collect between 2-8 tonnes of waste per trawl for cleaning and recycling, with the collected waste sent to Closed Loop Recycling’s plant in Dagenham where it will be processed and turned into plastic and used to make Ecover’s new bottles.