Initiative Hopes to Put Ocean Plastics Back Into Supply Chain

A group of major companies, including Dell and General Motors, are working together as part of NextWave, an initiative that hopes to put plastics that would otherwise end up in the oceans back into the supply chain.

Just because ocean waste is in the ocean doesn’t mean it can’t be brought back into the recycling stream.

In fact, it might actually be a huge perk for a lot of companies.

Recently, a group of companies—including Dell, General Motors, Herman Miller, Humanscale, and numerous others—announced they would join in on the NextWave initiative, an effort to take the waste in the ocean and reuse it in the supply chain.

According to a news release [PDF], NextWave represents the first time that plastics otherwise bound to become ocean waste have been put to commercial use. The idea is that the corporate members of the initiative—also including Trek Bicycle, Interface, Van de Sant, and Bureo—will work together to find a way to use the plastics sustainably.

“NextWave members will share responsibility in development of a sustainable model that reduces ocean-bound plastic pollution at scale, while creating an economic and social benefit for multiple stakeholders,” the release states. “In addition, the group will ensure that the resulting supply chain has the infrastructure and support necessary to meet demand as well as align with globally approved social and environmental standards. Finally, the initiative will confirm the integrity of the supply chain and resulting product integration through chain-of-custody compliance and external, third-party verification of impact.”

The effort, according to Supply Chain Dive, comes with corporate supporters that have gained a strong reputation on sustainability. Dell, for one, has a goal of using 100 million pounds of recycled plastic by 2020. The company will likely use its plastic for purposes of packaging or during the manufacturing process.

The program, according to its website, requires its members to adhere to principles of transparency, open-source collaboration, science, and accountability. Additionally, the companies will take steps to reduce their use of single-use plastics—like straws in the lunchroom.

That last part particularly makes sense considering the initiative is being supported by the Lonely Whale Foundation, the nonprofit founded by former Entourage star Adrian Grenier that has drawn interest for its anti-straw campaigns in recent years. Also supporting of NextWave is the United Nations Environment program.

(Cn0ra/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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