Blending Ocean Plastic to Achieve Performance and Costing Goals
Recycled materials have been a hot topic as companies and brands find increasing value in reducing their environmental impact and improving their "green" reputation. So far this usually comes with a price tag, as using recycled materials tends to be more expensive to incorporate, resulting in lower margins or passing those costs onto consumers. But what if I told you there was a bottom-line incentive too?
Currently, the price of recycled ocean plastics is typically 15-20% higher than virgin plastic. This can be a real challenge for on any procurement team tasked with shaving costs to hit target price points. But a great way to mitigate the cost increase is understanding the value of sustainability.
Until recently, there simply wasn't a financial formula to justify incorporating them into products. However, consumer demand has shifted, largely due to plastic pollution awareness and education. This is moving the needle and prompting more organizations to take a second look at adding recycled material into their supply chain.
At Oceanworks, we're seeing a shift with procurement teams now engaging with recycled ocean plastics. One key point not all companies realize is that using recycled ocean plastics isn't an all-or-nothing proposition and there are different strategies to incorporate them into the overall manufacturing process.
To start, we recommend blending as an initial exercise for companies to get their feet wet with ocean plastics. Since the first project is typically the hardest, blending ocean plastics with standard post-consumer-recycled plastics, can create an initial win to then build on.
Many brands believe they must use 100% ocean plastics to be taken seriously. But this is not at all the case. Just like the first Apollo mission didn't reach the Moon, it's all about making incremental progress to reach the ultimate goal.
"Manufacturing with ocean plastics can be daunting. At Oceanworks, we're helping de-risk and streamline the process from start to finish."
-Rob Ianelli, Founder, Oceanworks
Blending allows engineers at the product and manufacturing levels to have more control of the material throughout the manufacturing process. This ensures a higher likelihood for success for the initial trials, ultimately leading to the first production runs. Using a crawl, walk, run strategy ensures internal expectations aren’t set too high and the team isn't placed under too much strain.
From a marketing perspective, blending also allows room for growth in messaging. Gathering new data points ensures the messagings resonates with customers and generates a positive response. Many Oceanworks partners have found consumers willing to engage in the concept of blending, as long as the rationale is clearly communicated.
Effort goes a long way in the world of ocean plastics. Brands benefiting the most are those currently in the market or about to enter it. Committing the time, resources, and capital to deploy sustainable solutions within a product line is a noble mission that companies find simple and repeatable once the first product is produced.
If you’re already engaging with Oceanworks or just considering your options, you’re in the right place. Companies need trusted partners with subject matter expertise to expedite the transition and help avoid common pitfalls.
It’s a process and we’re here to help.