What PR can do for the plastic soup

Published in Recycling & Storytelling by

Here’s what happens when creative minds, nature conservation activists and business people join forces to make the world a better place. G-Star RAW for the Oceans, launched earlier this month, is produced with yarns of recycled plastic form the oceans. Singer Pharrell Williams, who performed in Amsterdam yesterday, Paul Watson’s Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a host of influential artists, designers, inventors, scientists and business people are connected the initiative.

Well, at least that is what we are made to believe in a well-orchestrated PR and advertising campaign. Yesterday Pharrell Williams even got the opportunity to spread the word while exclusively interviewed in a late night show on Dutch television. Pharrell acts as creative director of Bionic Yarn, a company founded by Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs, that produces innovative yarns partly made from recycled plastics. For G-Star Bionic Yarn made a special denim yarn.

What bothers is that it is not really made transparent where the plastic comes from. Bionic Yarn joined forces with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Parley, a think tank of ‘creators, thinkers and leaders’ to start The Vortex Project. This initiative is meant to cleanup beaches and shorelines, boost new technologies, and turn ocean plastic into smart consumer products to create funding and awareness to address plastic pollution.

Retrieving 700 million tons of plastic waste from the oceans is exactly the challenge the world community stands for. Does the Vortex Project really sends out ships into the ocean to fish the plastic chips from the water, like Williams wants us to believe? On the other hand: this is the kind of project that does raise awareness and addresses one of the major problems of our times. That is what design and a little business can do.

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