The year is 2020. Planet Earth is underwater and spinning faster and faster, growing hotter and hotter each each day. The level of ocean plastics is now insurmountable. Donald Trump has declared that the environment is “over”, and all dogs have been sent to Trash Island. In the words of Hamlet, “What’s done is done”, and there’s nothing we can do.

Joking. But if we don’t start holding ourselves accountable could all this be true? The Ellen MacArthur foundation predicts there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050– An obscene prediction. But there is something we can do. Politicians and brands alike are waking up to the fact that maybe we shouldn’t be plonking so much stuff into the ocean with such reckless abandon; and if we do have to, maybe we can take it out again and do something amazing with it.

Leading the way this month is Super Hunk, Global Icon and London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who launched his Water Bottle Refill Scheme to drive down the amount of ocean plastics; and more than 65 businesses, venues and shops in London are now on board. The market is awash with divine reusable water bottles for every occasion and outfit; and a personal favourite is the bobble bottles. They come in every colour under the sign, filter your water and have enough room in them that you can chuck in your five a day for good measure.  

Our Lord and Saviour (come back to us) Obama started an initiative in 2016 to reduce ocean plastics by introducing a ban on the plastic microbeads in cosmetics from making their way into the sea (8 trillion beads a day, more than enough to cover eight tennis courts!). But what if instead of simply trying to reduce the amount of waste, we repurposed it for good not evil?

The Ocean Cleanup, founded in 2014 by Boyan Slat, is a non profit organisation that aims to rid the ocean’s of plastics using advanced technologies. They estimate that they will be able to remove 50% of The Great Pacific Garbage in just five years time.

And as fate would have it, there are already several geniuses on the scene who also realise that cure is as good as prevention. Local heroes include but are not limited to:

Christopher Raeburn.

Raeburn uses repurposed kites, parachutes and 1950s Royal Airforce Silk Escape Maps at his REMADE studio in Hackney, London. Alongside his own collections, he holds workshops where he invites attendees to design and customise their own tote bags using off-cuts from the atelier. The words  “remade, reduced, recycled”  are now synonymous with the fact that he’s leading the way into a more sustainable future that doesn’t compromise design. 

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Adidas have sold one million pairs of their ocean plastic trainers (made from 95% recycled ocean plastics!) in 2017 which is a meteoric success and proves exactly what a profound effect big brands can have when they put their minds to it, all whilst creating something that actually looks pretty good. Environment,1. Humanity’s seemingly innate greed, nil.

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Pharrell Williams

Pharrell has joined forces with Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombes as Creative Director of Bionic Yarn, a company that is committed to developing yarn from recycled ocean plastics. The yarn is largely polymer, a hybrid of marine and coastal plastic, and brands such as Moncler, Topshop, G- Star Raw and Timberland have all begun to incorporate Bionic Yarn into their lines. Lest we forget that Bionic Yarn looks and feels exactly the same as normal thread so can be used for almost any garment without making a difference to item (but a huge difference to the ocean).

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