The big challenge is to retrieve the floating plastic out of the open sea. The majority of the plastic has broken down into small pieces 1/4 of an inch or smaller. The plastic trash is scattered over massive areas and is not easily visible or collected. The center of a Vortex where the plastic concentration is highest is constantly moving. It is difficult to collect the plastic without harming fish and other sea life. Only a minority of the plastic is on the surface, the majority sinks to the ocean floor. But a huge part of the plastic debris is washing up on beaches where it can be collected relatively easily and without complex technology by locally organized clean up organizations.
“I want to be plastic!” Andy Warhol’s phrase expresses the fascination for a seemingly perfect material. It is sleek, durable, comes in any color and looks just stunning. Also, it meets a broad variety of specific usage requirements. That makes it very hard to replace with ecological alternatives. Parley is supporting its partners to reduce plastic - and runs an extensive research and development program to create “green chemistry” materials, filter systems for micro plastics and new production technologies.
This pillar of the project focusses on the following key objective: Save as many animals as possible by cleaning off Ocean Plastic from coastlines and fishnets from the oceans. Recycle plastic trash into upcycled production materials and keep it in the loop. The real challenge is the collection of plastic debris that has broken down into tiny pieces without harming sea life. The technology for such a retrieval process is not yet in place, but a variety of inventions is in development and testing. Parley supports R&D in this field with a think tank.
A sexy product is the most efficient advertising for a cause. It is the best proof of concept for a new technology, an innovative material and gives consumers an easy decision to do the right thing. Therefore the main communication tool of this initiative are beautifully designed products, which carry the story of ocean plastic pollution into the world, show new directions and innovate production cycles. All products made with Ocean Plastic contribute to the funding of The Vortex Project.
Captain Paul Watson
The Vortex Project, an initiative by Parley for the Oceans, was co-founded in collaboration with the material innovator Bionic Yarn, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The project is based on the belief that human economy must be harmonized with the eco system of nature in order to make a serious impact.
Since its founding, a variety of environmentalists, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, creative companies and non-for-profit organizations have joined the cause. The advisory board includes Plastic Pollution Coalition, Ocean Alliance, Mare, and Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry.