Innovative Marine Debris Bakelite project will help clean up our oceans

by Corporate Waste Solutions
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Imagine being able to purchase beautiful, functional designer objects that are completely sustainable and that contribute to cleaning up the world’s oceans.

Supercyclers’ Sarah King and Andrew Simpson have developed a new material made from 100 percent recycled plastic, collected from Australian beaches after it has been dumped out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This material is then being used to create items designed by some of the world’s best designers.

Most of us have seen pictures of these swirling masses of plastic waste, delivered via ocean currents into two major concentrations between Japan and California. And that’s just the stuff we can see. There is also ‘microplastic’ so tiny that it is ingested by marine life and is devastating marine ecosystems in countless ways.

Plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is washing up in our tides onto our beaches – we’ve all found plastic debris on the shoreline. Simpson and King have chosen to see this waste as a resource, to collect it and use it to create something beautiful, useful and sustainable through their partnership Supercyclers.

The pair first put their heads together over the marine debris problem in 2015. Following the premise that simply making recycled products from waste could be improved by a bit of design thinking, the focus was on creating something equally beautiful and sustainable. And thus the Marine Debris Bakelite project was born.

Marine Debris Bakelite (MDB) is characterised by a marbled quality. It is made from 100 percent recycled ocean plastic by using small-scale industrial and hand-manufacturing processes developed entirely by Supercyclers.

Its first product, the Marine Debris Bento Box, was launched at Tokyo Design Week in 2015. It has been successfully sold and used by customers since, and has effectively provided a proof of concept product to launch this next stage of the project. For the new collection, Supercyclers has invited a group of some of the best international designers working in the world today to design objects, so that it can create and launch its first collection for people to own and use.

Marine Debris Bakelite bento box. Image styling by Nat Turnbull and photography by Scott Newett

Marine Debris Bakelite bento box. Image styling by Nat Turnbull and photography by Scott Newett

The team decided to crowdfund the production on Pozible so that anyone who cares about the ocean and good design can participate and help clean up the oceans from wherever they are. Pledges are rewarded with the objects themselves, so it’s a sustainable way to pre-order affordable pieces from some of the world’s most renowned designers.

Supercyclers says, “We also thought it would be a good way to raise awareness on the subject of the plastic mess in our oceans.” By supporting the project, “You are becoming an active investor in the MDB Project and in the process, helping to clean up our oceans. It’s a very direct approach: each product bought and used is plastic that our ocean collection partner will remove from the beach and give to us and is no longer in the ocean – and you have made that happen.”

The crowdfunded pledges will enable MDB to go into production and make these beautiful products. It’s a made-to-order scenario, which means there is no waste as the orders are filled as they come in.

“We want to be aligned with you,” Supercyclers says, “with individuals and small business people, even big businesses, who might want to contribute – people who care about our oceans, and who care about good design.”

The funds from the Pozible campaign will enable Supercyclers to produce the objects in the Marine Debris Bakelite collection. It will pay for the ocean shoreline collection (carried out by its partners, Ocean Collection); it will cover the design, pre-production, CAD modelling, 3D print prototyping and mould-making, and subsequently filling the orders. The entire production will take place in Sydney at the Vert Design HQ in Chippendale.

Image courtesy of Supercyclers

Image courtesy of Supercyclers

Visit Supercyclers’ Instagram to view the MDB products, and to pledge your support.

Ocean image copyright: whitcomberd / 123RF Stock Photo

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