By now, much of the world has heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. For the uninitiated, it’s a huge island of trash in the central Pacific, a majority of it said to be composed of fast food packaging. There’s been a lot of work done to measure it and analyze it. But there’s not been much movement around what to actually do with what’s already there.
Cleaning product company Method has come up with a novel way to take action, while engaging the communities affected by it. Hawaii’s beaches are frequently the final destination for debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as the winds and currents carrying the garbage there. Method hosted numerous beach cleanups during National Oceans Month, linking up employees, customers and volunteers from non-profits Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kokua Hawai’i Foundation. They collected more than 3000 pounds of usable plastic material.
But whereas most ocean cleanups just move the trash from the coast to the dump, Method went further, and is incorporating it into its already 100% post consumer packaging for its new Sea Minerals line.
This is not only beneficial to the environment, it’s a smart move as a business, as it clearly demonstrates its commitment to innovatively make an impact, together with several stakeholder groups. It meaningfully differentiates Method from other companies and is a highly shareable story for participants to pass on, both at the time of the cleanups and when the resulting products hit the shelves.
Method is clear that one initiative alone cannot solve the issue of ocean pollution, but that by doing something unique and beneficial, it will draw more awareness to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. On the business side, as Method puts it, their intention is to, “...use our business to demonstrate smart ways of using and reusing the plastics that are already on the planet.”
This is where the real impact can be made, as it will give other companies the courage to explore similar options, now that they have an in the field product that shows something can now be done with this previously unsolvable issue.
Readers: What other initiatives to address the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have you seen out there? What else do you envision being done? Would your company pursue such initiatives as Method has?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, global trend tracker, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.