The Epic Journey of Recycled Marine Plastic
Rob Thompson [UK] Conservationist and Social Entrepreneur
Swietenia Puspa Lestari [Indonesia] Executive Director of Divers Clean Action
Mathilda D’Silva [Singapore] Founder of Ocean Purpose Project
Rob Thompson spent his childhood playing in the ocean. At the age of 3, he had his first glimpse under the surface of the ocean and instantly became hooked on the underwater world. However, his plastic Odyssey started properly in 2014 by pulling together a group of divers to clean up a cove in Cornwall. Thousands of pieces of plastic were recovered and we continued by setting up a charity to recover underwater ocean plastic. The challenges we faced were accessing coves, recycling recovered plastic, funding and preventing plastic from getting in the sea.
Rob believes part of the plastic problem is our lack of resourcefulness, and the thought that the plastic we recovered was ending up in landfills troubled me. Odyssey Innovation was established to pioneer the circular economy by converting plastic from beach cleans and end-of-life nets from fishing communities into products. Our first were kayaks, these are used in our ‘Paddle for Plastic’ campaign to support communities to collect plastic waste from otherwise inaccessible coves and waterways.
Our work is only possible through collaboration and through these we continue to capture people’s imaginations and change views about marine plastic “from waste to resource”.