Oceanworks As A Plastic Action Platform
Ocean plastic pollution is a growing environmental danger, with 11 million tonnes entering the ocean annually. When Oceanworks® Founder, Rob Ianelli discovered the scale of the problem he set out to create the first pair of sunglasses built using ocean plastic waste. It was a wager that consumers were willing to pay a premium for responsibly sourced products, especially with the growing awareness around the ocean plastic problem. What he didn’t anticipate was how challenging it would be to source suitable recycled material despite the growing scourge of plastic waste threatening the ocean. Confident he wasn’t alone in this frustration, Oceanworks was born.
Since its origins, the Oceanworks mission hasn’t changed; keeping the ocean clean by making it easy for brands to take action against plastic pollution. Our approach, however, has progressed and evolved. With our countless partnerships and brand engagements, Oceanworks has developed into what we call a Plastic Action Platform, enabling brands to more effectively take on plastic pollution in the way that makes the most sense for their business.
A new wave on the horizon
Far too often we’ve heard from our partners the desire to go beyond simply incorporating reclaimed plastic into their products and have new ways to take on plastic pollution with both measurable and tangible results.
With this unmet wish in mind, we’re excited to share the unveiling of our new program, IMPAC+™ by Oceanworks. Similar to carbon offsets, IMPAC+ projects provide the desperately needed funds to properly reclaim and dispose of mismanaged plastic waste that would otherwise remain in the environment (also known as “additionality”). With IMPAC+, Oceanworks can offer brands guaranteed plastic waste collection, enabling them to maximize their impact even when their products themselves don’t utilize much—or any—plastic. Our IMPAC+ offsets makes plastic action a viable sustainability endeavor for any brand in any industry.
Why brands are choosing IMPAC+™
The reality is, when it comes to plastic, post-consumer resin (PCR) isn’t always a viable option for brands. In some instances it’s due to manufacturing limitations or extended time horizons that make switching to PCR a difficult short-term goal. When PCR is a viable option, many brands feel that the amount of material required for manufacturing isn’t significant enough when compared to the scale of the problem and therefore are looking to supplement or amplify their existing efforts.
Similar to “carbon neutrality”, “plastic neutrality” should not be considered a silver-bullet solution. It is true that brands who are large contributors to new plastic (and ultimately plastic pollution) can become “plastic neutral” by buying IMPAC+ offsets. This is similar to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulatory schemes which require polluters to offset their pollution through financial investments. And yes, these approaches allow polluters to look good while they continue to pollute, but it should also be noted that these approaches directly place financial ownership on polluters, pushing them to invest in removing plastic waste and other pollutants from the environment. There are countless reasons for why more brands are turning to us today for solutions like IMPAC+ and we believe it’s an important 10-20 year stepping stone towards the goal of ending new plastic pollution.
By funding “plastic offsets”, brands can make a clear, measurable, and tangible difference in plastic pollution. Layer in Oceanworks' expertise and ability to provide the verification and traceability and you have the toolkit necessary for a powerful and transparent consumer messaging strategy. Far from any “greenwashing” public relations stunts, IMPAC+ projects allow brands to engage consumers in a meaningful campaign based on plastic action and ocean plastic pollution prevention.
Brands are already making an IMPAC+™
IMPAC+ by Oceanworks allows companies to choose the project that resonates most with their business and today our brand partners are already making a difference through our IMPAC+ projects around the world.
Our first IMPAC+ project in Alaska funds the recovery of commercial fishing nets back into the circular economy. Traditionally a costly and difficult process for fishermen, our Fishing Net Recovery project funds the additional efforts required to return fishing nets, clean, and sort in preparation for processing. Without these funds, these materials are not cost-competitive on the open market.
And while oceans may steal all the headlines, rivers are similarly plagued with plastic waste and it’s the pollution of these waterways that ultimately is the largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution. Unfortunately the plastic recovered from these waters is heavily mixed with organic waste, making for a costly sorting and cleaning process. Our brand partners can help by funding these costly activities making the material that would otherwise almost certainly end up in our ocean, more viable on the open market.
Accelerating Plastic Action
IMPAC+ provides brands a new, turnkey solution to quickly ramp up meaningful, scalable programs while arming brand partners with the tools necessary to roll out successful campaigns and messaging. These offsets not only allow brands to reduce their own plastic footprint, but also make a communicable impact around the globe. On its own or as a part of a dual-pronged approach, IMPAC+ is an exciting new product for brands to join Oceanworks in the mission of keeping our ocean free from new plastic pollution.
Learn more about how IMPAC+ can supercharge your sustainability initiatives today at Oceanworks.co.
Written by Phil Finnance, O/W Head of Marketing