About 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year, according to university researchers. And that number is only expected to rise as the population swells and consumption increases: Estimates put ocean trash at around 17.5 million metric tons by 2025. That's a lot of plastic in our waters.
The grim news has inspired massive efforts to change the course of plastic pollution before we reach the point of no return. The latest comes from Soma and Parley, two companies that teamed up to create a reusable glass water bottle that will serve as a symbol of change and ocean conservation.
The collaboration was forged to encourage the use of reusable glass water bottles instead of single-use plastic water bottles. The blue sleeve, made from plastic plucked from the ocean, was built in to spark conversations about where trash usually ends up. A portion of every sale will support the Parley Ocean Plastic Program, which helps to create a direct impact on ocean pollution through research, innovation and education.
While speaking recently on a panel at The Assemblage, Parley For The Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch explained the importance of making small, eco-friendly changes in your everyday life. “It's this one little action after the other that inspires performance. Actually, it's more often the small actions than the big actions that create change because it’s so easy to do it yourself. It's not easy to go out there and fight dragons, but it's very easy to replace a plastic bottle with a glass bottle, and there’s a benefit to it.”
The reusable bottles are made of Soma glass, which is shatterproof, BPA-free, and can hold up to 17 ounces. Topping the vessel off is a leak-proof cap derived from natural bamboo and renewable materials.
The blue sleeve is the focal point of this limited-edition bottle and is made from Parley Ocean Plastic™. Ninety percent of the material is equal to two plastic bottles removed from ocean environments near islands or coastlines.
Parley’s process involves recovering discarded trash from oceans and beaches, then cleaning the plastic and transforming it into pellets. Those pellets are turned into neoprene and voilà! Unsightly plastic rubbish is transformed into sleek bottle sleeves.
Before working with Parley on this project, Soma had already been making waves in the water industry by blending high design glass containers and filtration to battle the global water crisis. The certified B-corporation also works to offset emissions with responsible forestry, green packaging, and responsible supply chain partners.
“The responsibility of brands [is] to know that the consumer is there and is not necessarily always going to change," said Tal Chitayat, CEO of Soma’s parent company FC Brands, during comments at the recent Assemblage panel. "We have to change, and we have to provide better alternatives, functionally better, alternatives. That’s the next generation of product development in our minds.”
Soma’s collaboration with Parley for the Oceans was an obvious partnership match. Parley for the Oceans is a worldwide network of brands and governments working to save the oceans from further damage. Their main focus is to help people make changes through their buying choices. To do so, they link up with companies and show them how environmental protection can be beneficial for their bottom lines.
The reusable bottles will be sold at Starbucks around the country. The companies hope Starbucks' wide access to so many different consumers will help spread the message not just to people who already care about the environment, but also to those who are just finding out about the consequences of single-use plastics.