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Pharrell Williams launches new fashion line made from recycled ocean plastic



The musician Pharrell Williams has created a new environmentally-friendly clothing line, in collaboration with G-Star RAW and the Vortex Project.

The ‘RAW for the Oceans’ collection was originally planned for release in August but has now been postponed until September.

The line will adopt a revolutionary approach by using plastic waste, which is a real problem in our oceans and on the world’s beaches.

The Valuing Plastic report, released on Monday by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), estimated that 10-20 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year.

This is then left on coastlines through many different ways, including littering, manufacturers poorly managing their waste and tourist activities.

Companies are being encouraged to create closed loop systems where materials can be reused. Customers support this approach with a recent study showing 70% of consumers would consider switching to a more environmentally-friendly brand.

Plastic in the ocean is harmful to marine life as they can be entangled by debris and many ingest the smaller pieces. These small plastic parts are then introduced to the food chain and raise questions on the safety of our food.

Jo Ruxton, co-founder of the Plastic Oceans Foundation, said it is important to ensure plastic is collected in a responsible way and also stresses prevention is always better than cure.

She said, “Large plastic pieces, even at the centres of the ocean gyres, are spaced apart, the real problem is the microplastics that have built up there and these are mixed with plankton.  Plankton forms the base of the food-chain and removing this in large quantities would have a devastating effect.  If the plastic is collected from beaches that would be preferable since there is a huge supply there.   

“I believe the project can raise awareness and start people talking, that is great.  The only issue I see with recycling is that people will view it as a complete solution when I see it as a last resort after reducing our dependence and single-use plastic, redesigning the packaging and the plastic products themselves and re-using them instead of throwing them in a recycling bin.”

Other companies pioneering in the reusing of plastic include Levi’s, Ecover and the Healthy Seas Initiative.

Photo: Jason Karn via Flickr

Further reading: 

Most remote corners of the oceans full of human litter, study finds

European seas and oceans ‘not in good shape’, EU warns

Report details 99% public support for Scottish marine protected areas

Coca-Cola launches campaign to give ‘second life’ to plastic bottles

70% prepared to boycott brands with poor environmental records