Next Wave Plastics: Lonely Whale and a variety of member companies
Plastic is polluting our oceans. Each year more than 8 million tons of new plastic will enter the ocean, break down, and become nearly impossible to remove from the water. The plastic, which comes mostly from consumer goods companies’ packaging, becomes attractive to fish, turtles, birds, and other marine species, causing them harm and even death.
That’s where Lonely Whale comes in. A nonprofit dedicated to keeping ocean waters clean, it established NextWave Plastics, a cross-industry, open source collaboration among leading companies to develop the first global network dedicated to recycle plastics and “lock up” ocean-bound plastics. Member companies include Bureo, Dell Technologies, General Motors, Herman Miller, HP Inc, Humanscale, IKEA, Interface,and Trek Bicycle and the list is growing.
To decrease the volume of plastic BEFORE it enters the ocean, NextWave member companies are actively integrating this material into their products to “lock up” plastic waste. Their efforts have led competing companies—such as Dell and HP—to work together toward this important ecological goal.
In addition, member companies have also agreed to reduce non-essential plastic usage across their operations and supply chains. This will result in less plastic entering the ocean and will also help to turn ocean-bound plastic into a commodity to be used and re-used worldwide.
Companies such as Interface have developed products that make use of ocean-bound plastic. The company’s NetEffect carpet tiles use Nylon 6 gleaned from more than 200 tons of fishing gear that has been collected across Cameroon, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Humanscale’s Smart Ocean Task Chair integrates two pounds of Nylon 6 from fishing gear once bound for waters off the coast of Chile, and HP’s ink cartridges, as of October 2018, have eliminated 12 million single-use plastic water bottles from entering the Caribbean Sea. Dell announced that it has developed the technology industry’s first packaging trays made partially with recycled ocean plastic content.
NextWave’s efforts have been highlighted in more than 150 media outlets, been recognized by Fast Company as one of the publication’s “World Changing Ideas,” received an award from the Danish government and been recognized with the 2018 Ocean Tribute Award. NextWave has also earned the support of global scientists and environmentalists from the UN Environment, the Zoological Society of London, the 5Gyres institute and the New Materials Institute.