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Starbucks Now Selling Plastic Water Bottles Made From Recycled Ocean Debris

by Rick Anderson

With a recent study revealing that the infamous Pacific Garbage Patch may be more than three times the size of France , the need to do something about the sheer amount of plastic and waste in Earth’s waters is more apparent than ever. While any meaningful solution will require international cooperation at the highest levels of government, a new collaboration between water bottle company Soma and nonprofit Parely shows how sustainable design might be able to help.

Available exclusively at Starbucks locations, the 17 oz. BPA-free glass bottle is wrapped in a neoprene sleeve made from the equivalent of two polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles that have washed up on the shores of islands or coastal communities around the globe. The bottles are harvested by Parley for the Oceans, a nonprofit network of individuals, brands, NGOs, and governments concerned with protecting the planet’s aquatic ecosystems.

To upcycle the waste, chunks of PET bottles are compressed into pellets through a heat-based “pelletizing” process. The pellets are then melted into a filament that ultimately turns into neoprene, which is woven into the final sleeve shape. The end result is a sleeved glass bottle that not only finds a new use for waste that would otherwise languish on the shores or else pollute the oceans but also provides consumers with a means by which they can cut down on the amount of plastic waste they create themselves. Given that tackling climate change will require both big steps and small (but powerful) changes to consumer behavior, a project like this certainly qualifies as a step in the right direction.

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