Today, on UN World Oceans Day (8 June), Bantam Materials, the supplier of Prevented Ocean Plastic (POP), announced it has successfully ‘diverted’ 20,000 tonnes of plastic from polluting the world’s oceans and waterways.
Prevented Ocean Plastic product is a certified recycled plastic that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. Each batch is traceable back to source and means it can be reliably verified as meeting the recognised criteria for being ‘ocean-bound’.
The 20,000-tonnes diverted equates to 50,000 tonnes of CO2 saved by not using new plastics, Bantam Materials says.
With the average number of water bottles consumed per year in the UK being 7.7 billion, this equates to 10% of the total amount of plastic water bottles which are consumed in the UK in a year.
It is a key element of creating a circular economy for plastic while also protecting our oceans and marine life from devastating pollution.
Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials, said: “World Oceans Day is about acting for our oceans, using marine resources in a sustainable way and preventing pollution. We are very proud of reaching the 20,000-tonne milestone and want to use this moment to thank all our customers but in particular Group Guillin who were our first partner.
“They recognised the importance of ocean-bound plastic as a reliable source of recycled PET and led the creation of what are now award-winning initiatives with international brands.
“Sadly, the plastic waste shows no signs of slowly down and we need to rapidly accelerate recognition and use of ocean-bound plastic as part of the solution. It is a key element of creating a circular economy for plastic while also protecting our oceans and marine life from devastating pollution.
“We’ve reached this 20,000-tonne milestone in a little over a year’s time. Now we have the systems and foundations in place we endeavour to grow the programme so we can deliver this, and more, every year.”
Waitrose is today pledging to use more Prevented Ocean Plastic (POP) in its own-label packaging, with over 100 tonnes estimated to be used this year – the equivalent of saving almost 4 million plastic bottles from the ocean.
As well as being the first British supermarket to use Prevented Ocean Plastic in packaging for 13 lines across its ready meal range, due to launch later this year, Waitrose is also using POP more widely across a broad range of its own label packaging, supplied by Sharpak, including fruit, veg, family and health, with others to follow.
Waitrose is working toward its commitment for a minimum of 30% recycled content in plastics, using POP where possible. All of the plastic tray packaging across its own label fruit is already composed of 80% or more recycled content.
Marija Rompani, Director of Ethics & Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, comments: “It’s estimated that 90% of the plastic in our oceans comes from just 10 rivers around the world, with coastal regions in Southeast Asia identified as being at particular risk.
We can already see the significant impact this is having not only on our oceans but also to the communities that live in coastal areas most affected by plastic pollution.
“Our customers have told us they want to see more packaging made from recycled content on our shelves and with vast amounts of plastic already in the world, we are committed to repurposing where we can and using more sustainable options. There is more to do but we hope that by using more Prevented Ocean Plastics in our packaging, we can be part of the solution to this hugely significant global issue.”
Ben Tingley, Product and Business Development Lead at the Prevented Ocean Plastic Research Centre, said: “World Ocean Day is a moment for our industry and community to come together to progress fully traceable ocean plastic prevention and bring recycled plastic into products on shelves.
“We can already see the significant impact this is having not only on our oceans but also to the communities that live in coastal areas most affected by plastic pollution. We therefore hope other businesses will follow in the footsteps of retailers like Waitrose and commit to using more Prevented Ocean Plastic in their packaging to give customers a better plastic choice when making day to day shopping decisions.”
Waitrose says that POP is not only helping to prevent ocean plastic at scale, it is also incentivising local recycling by creating an income for coastal plastic collectors and in turn increasing demand for recycled plastic across the industry.