Redefining "Ocean Plastic" For Transparency
Historically, Oceanworks® followed the industry standard of classifying ocean-bound plastic as “ocean plastic.” Meaning that any Oceanworks Guaranteed post-consumer recycled content (PCR) reclaimed within 50 kilometers of the shoreline could potentially be marketed simply as ocean plastic. While it’s still common to see these terms being used interchangeably in the industry, we have decided it was time to revise this classification for Oceanworks Guaranteed products. Why? One word, transparency.
From its founding, Oceanworks® has focused on being the most transparent company in the sustainable material space. By creating tools like Oceanworks Intelligent Track & Trace, we have instilled transparency throughout the entire process, from shore to shelf. This World Oceans Day, we’re taking another step toward that mission by socializing and enforcing a stricter definition of ocean plastic, tightening the definition to post-consumer recycled (PCR) collected in areas 1 (Offshore) and 2 (Nearshore). Collection areas 3 (Coastal), 4 (Waterway), and 5 (Ocean-bound) will continue to be differentiated and highlighted under the Oceanworks Guarantee, as they are both a critical part of the solution to ocean plastic, but they will no longer fall under the more generalized term “ocean plastic” in campaigns.
"This World Ocean Day, we’re taking another step toward [the mission of transparency] by socializing and enforcing a stricter definition of ocean plastic..."
Removing "coastal," “waterway,” and “ocean-bound plastic” from the “ocean plastic” umbrella category intends not to deemphasize the importance of diverting “ocean-bound plastics” but rather present clarity and confidence to the purchasing consumer. This additional specificity reflects what we already encourage in the market to better inform the consumer and build consumer confidence.While environmental cleanup of our oceans is an important prong in the fight against ocean plastic pollution, Oceanworks® continues to believe prioritizing the interception of plastic before it reaches the ocean is instrumental in curbing global ocean and environmental plastic pollution for a few reasons:
- Upwards of 80% of ocean plastic originates in these two collection areas (~19 billion lbs/year)
- Ocean-bound plastic hasn't had the same exposure to the elements and sunlight as ocean plastic making it more usable as PCR.
Any concern about greenwashing erodes consumer confidence in the ultimate impact of adopting sustainability into their lifestyle. This lack of confidence is in part a symptom of the larger lack of transparency around PCR. By adding increased transparency to our PCR classification system we’re hoping to remove any risk of misleading consumer communications.