The 2-Minute Read: To Say Goodbye To Virgin Plastic, Start Now
"The 2-Minute Read" is a series where we discuss new ideas or counterintuitive thoughts on today's plastic pollution crisis. By no means is it comprehensive coverage of the issues, instead it serves to stir up new ideas and constructive conversation.
We’ve already covered the steps required for companies to begin prioritizing plastic action. That means getting buy-in from leadership, building consensus among all internal stakeholders, establishing measurable goals, and choosing the first step on the journey away from virgin plastic. (For companies struggling to kickstart their plastic revolution internally, that first step could be as simple as engaging with an external partner that has dedicated expertise in sustainable plastics.)
Wherever companies are in that process, the start of the year is a crucial time to make strategic plans and set goals for the year ahead. The global plastic pollution crisis won’t be solved quickly or easily, but the planet needs companies to step up ASAP. That means accepting there is no perfect solution, and instead committing to incremental steps that will contribute to long-term sustainability goals.
Above all, it’s time for a bias toward action rather than indecisiveness. Consider that a $1000 investment from this year’s R&D budget could be all it takes to get the ball rolling. On average, companies that partner with Oceanworks spend less than that to evaluate how two or three different grades of ocean or oceanbound PCR material could be integrated into their manufacturing processes. When those tests are successful, imagine what doors might open for a company with their eye on sustainability goals.
“When R&D teams are aligned on wanting to shift from virgin plastic toward more sustainable materials, it’s important for that to be backed up with broader support across company leadership and other divisions. You want everyone to be prepared for next steps upon a successful test,” said Patrick Todd, VP of Sales.
While troubleshooting and onboarding new eco-friendly plastics into production doesn’t occur overnight, there are parallel paths for companies to begin making a positive impact almost immediately. Oceanworks is constantly working to lower entry barriers for companies to begin reducing their plastic footprint. The IMPAC+ program enables every company to take plastic action regardless of how far along they are with R&D.
The IMPAC+ program offers Oceanworks partners access to plastic credits or “offsets”, providing a direct line for them to reduce overall plastic pollution in the short term. On its own (best for companies not producing their own plastics) or in combination with making a longer-term switch to PCR plastic in products and packaging, IMPAC+ allows companies to establish clear commitments to reducing global plastic pollutions. Taking advantage of plastic offsets is about to become even easier for companies, as Oceanworks is soon launching an IMPAC+ Shopify app that will seamlessly integrate plastic credits into the world of e-commerce.
Acknowledging the global plastic pollution crisis was the first thing companies needed to do to get ready to embrace change. Now, they must recognize that although there is no simple solution, prioritizing progress over perfection is the only way to move forward. The good news is that there are clearly-defined starting points for companies looking to achieve sustainability wins this year, including accessible plastic credits through the IMPAC+ program and low start-up costs to explore it would look like for PCR plastic material to replace virgin plastic in products and packaging. Kickstarting these efforts now will ensure that companies have promising metrics to share by the time Earth Day, World Ocean Day, and other environmental awareness milestones arrive.
So, get ready. Research shows companies that communicate clear targets for sustainability enjoy higher product growth than competitors that make vague claims. When it comes to embracing environmentally-friendly materials, companies that choose to lead the pack rather than play catch-up will not only win loyal consumers but will make a cleaner, greener, and healthier world a part of their everlasting brand story.