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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Cool Fix: Recycling the Ocean's Plastic

Air Date: Week of

A man canoes through an ocean of plastic. (Photo: “Bagtheplanet”)

A household cleaning and personal care products company is calling attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by making a laundry detergent bottle from the ocean’s garbage. Raphaella Bennin reports.


GELLERMAN: It’s Living on Earth, I'm Bruce Gellerman.

From time to time, we feature cool fixes for a hot planet - new ideas that can help us beat the heat from climate change. One that could help a little bit makes use of a big pile of plastic. Living on Earth’s Raphaella Bennin tells us more.


BENNIN: A home cleaning and personal care products company wants to scrub the great outdoors, or at least part of it. It plans to collect plastic from a massive trash pile in the Pacific Ocean and recycle it into a laundry detergent bottle.

The bottle on the left is method’s new recycled bottle. The other two bottles hold plastic at different stages of the recycling process. (Photo: Leslie Guevarra, GreenBiz.com)

The company, Method, produces soap, detergent, and multi-purpose sprays. It already makes its spray bottles and pump canisters from 100 percent recycled materials. Now, Method is teaming up with Envision Plastics to make a container with 25 percent recycled trash from the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

The garbage patch sits in the North Pacific Gyre – a system of currents that swirl the ocean’s waters. Discarded fishing nets, plastic bottles, and waste dumped by cruise ships twist together in the middle of the ocean, over an area some scientists say is the size of Texas. Some of that trash washes up on the shores of Hawaii and California.

Method knows its cleaning efforts won’t rid the ocean of this great garbage vortex, but the company hopes that its message in a bottle will increase awareness of the problem, and encourage more people to recycle. That’s this week’s Cool Fix for a Hot Planet. I’m Raphaella Bennin.

GELLERMAN: And if you have a cool fix for a hot planet - we'd love to hear it. If we use your idea on the air, we'll send you a shiny electric blue Living on Earth tire gauge. Keeping your tires properly inflated can save you hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs, and make the going a lot smoother. Call our listener line at 800-218-9988, that's 800-218-9988. Or go to our Facebook page, it PRI's Living on Earth.



Adam Lowry, Chief Co-founder of method, blogs about the plan to recycle plastic from the Pacific Ocean.


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