A patch of garbage at least twice the size of Texas is floating in the North Pacific and growing by the day. What does a company do when it wants to take on such a major issue? It takes product innovation to new heights and enlists employees, consumers and everyone else along the way to pitch in. Cleaning supply company Method is doing just that with its newest product that incorporates debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch into its packaging.
Ocean winds and currents make Hawaiian beaches a common end point for garbage swept up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Although clean ups are sometimes held to beautify beaches, most of the garbage still ends up in landfills. Method set out to change this by hosting multiple beach clean ups for National Oceans Month, at which employees and consumers worked alongside volunteers from nonprofits like Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the Kokua Hawai'i Foundation. But instead of sending the garbage collected to a landfill, Method had other plans. Employees and partner Envision Plastic worked for more than a year to find a way to produce high-quality plastic out of ocean trash. Method is now closing the loop by incorporating the groundbreaking plastic into the packaging of its newest product, aptly named "Sea Minerals,” supplementing the almost 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic already used in its products.
By involving employees, consumers and nonprofit partners in the process of turning ocean pollution into useable products, Method is not only solving sustainability issues internally, but also bringing awareness to the massive issue of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It will take a collaborative effort among business, government and consumers over a span of many years to fully address the plastic island, but Method's first step is certain to draw attention to this growing problem and garner employee buy-in and consumer engagement along the way.
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