5.2 trillion. That’s how many pieces of plastic debris are estimated to be in our oceans right now. It’s such a gargantuan problem – and one that’s expected to only get worse – that it seems unsurmountable. Sure, picking up litter and beach cleanups matter, but how much does this really help? Fortunately, a company has stepped up to the plate to help our oceans, and they’re doing it in a very ground-breaking way.
In 2016, a company called Solgaard launched, with a solar-powered, anti-theft backpack as its revolutionary product. They then followed with other backpacks, along with watches and luggage. These items were made of sustainable materials, but in 2018, things really started getting interesting. That’s when they released their Oceans Plastic Daypack. And this wasn’t some sort of clever or avant-garde name – it was actually made from plastic that would’ve ended up in the ocean.
A world-changing idea
Entrepreneur Adrian Solgaard quickly realized that he had a win-win situation on his hands. His company could take plastic that was headed to the ocean and use it to create high-quality products. In 2019, the company launched Shore-Tex™, which was upcycled ocean-bound plastic fabric, and in 2020, this was recognized by Fast Company as a World Changing Ideas finalist.
That same year, the company came out with Shore-Plast, a high-impact material also made from recycled plastic bottles that would’ve gone into the ocean. Solgaard estimated that it has used the equivalent of more than 12 million bottles, and hundreds of bottles are saved with every item they sell.
“We approach our products as a dual innovation opportunity; via both sustainable sourcing and manufacturing, paired with consumer-friendly designs of premium quality,” Adrian Solgaard said. “By saving 229 plastic bottles from the ocean with every item sold, we are scaling our impact by more than five times than by simply electing to utilize recycled materials in our products.”
An even more innovative idea
Not content to just use ocean-bound plastic, Solgaard decided to take even greater actions to help the planet. The company has now been working with organizations in countries around the world to actively remove plastic from waterways. During the first three quarters of 2022, more than one million pounds of plastic were taken out. In addition to a much-needed cleanup that helps the environment, these initiatives have also created many jobs.
Says Adrian Solgaard: “There is no silver bullet or single action that will achieve what is needed to address climate change and ocean plastic pollution. Instead, we must work collaboratively to identify scalable steps and solutions to establish a more circular economy and environmentally responsible supply chains.”
While the efforts Solgaard is making to help the Earth are the headline, we can’t forget to mention that this company also makes some other pretty cool stuff. Recently they teamed up with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who hosts the popular StarTalk podcast, to launch a special travel gear collection inspired by space.
“Neil has often described that it was only after astronauts gazed back at our home planet in the 1960s that humanity began to understand how fragile our pale blue dot is,” said Adrian Solgaard. “By collaborating with StarTalk to launch this collection, our goal was to creatively underscore the importance of coming together to build a better future and bridge the gap between space, exploration, and sustainability to improve the health of our home planet.”
What do you think about Solgaard’s efforts to help the planet? Would you be more likely to buy something from the company knowing that every purchase removes more plastic waste? Do you take environmental or social responsibility into consideration before deciding to make a purchase? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share this article with your environmentally conscious friends!