Repurposing ocean plastic for good

*Watch the full story in the video player above*

New Zealanders aren't half as good as we think we are when it comes to preventing plastic from going into the ocean, says Olympic sailor Blair Tuke.  

Speaking at an ecostore panel event at Auckland’s Viaduct, Tuke said there was a worrying gap between how Kiwis perceive their pollution prevention efforts and the reality of it.

“We talk about overseas countries which are overpopulated and comment on how much plastic’s in the ocean, but [we’ve] seen how much is there and we’re in a really underpopulated island nation in the middle of the South Pacific."

As well as being exposed to plastic pollution at sea, Tuke and sailing partner Peter Burling recently visited ecostore staff after their trip out to Auckland's Tamaki Estuary. Alongside not-for-profit Sea Cleaners, they witnessed firsthand the amount of plastic pollution making it through the storm water system - watch the video of their trip in the video above.  

Sea Cleaners has removed over 8.5 million litres of rubbish from New Zealand's waterways since 2002 - enough rubbish to fill about 283 shipping containers.

Sea Cleaners trustee and event panelist Jon Lamb said while charity did great work through its clean-up and education programme, more needed to be done by manufacturers and consumers to ensure plastics didn't end up in our waterways. 

The panel event coincides with ecostore's launch of a limited edition run of hand wash packaged in bottles made from 100 percent ocean waste plastic collected from South East Asia – a New Zealand first.

Ecostore partnered up with international global packaging manufacturer Pack Tech to source Ocean Waste Plastic, which gives consumers full traceability of where the recovered plastic was sourced from. 

Ocean Waste Plastic is the verified plastic Pack Tech is removing from our oceans.

Pack Tech's Per Martin Mortensen says using recovered plastic not only reduces the total amount of plastic in the world, it also helps to clean our oceans of it. 

According to a 2016 World Economic Forum Report, eight million tonnes of plastic enters the world's oceans every year - 80 percent of which comes from the Asia region.

Ecostore's run of 20,000 bottles is the equivalent of over half a tonne of recovered plastic. Ecostore’s managing director Pablo Kraus says he hopes the initiative not only raises awareness about ocean waste, but also inspires other companies to be part of the solution. 

Ecostore teamed up with artist Tomas Cottle who created the ocean-themed designs for the limited edition run of bottles made from Ocean Waste Plastic. Image: Supplied.

* Ecostore is a foundation supporter of newsroom.co.nz

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