Turning the #tide on Ocean-Bound Plastic Waste
Over 11 million metric tons of plastic finds its way into oceans annually, waging irreparable harm on some 800 ocean species.(1)
 
It’s estimated that a whopping 95% of plastic packaging is single-use.(1) One way to address the problem is by upcycling ocean-bound plastic to give single-use waste a second life. Tide Ocean SA, a Swiss company headed by Thomas Schori, has committed itself to being more than just a plastic recycler, and has pioneered #tide ocean material®, a method of collecting and compounding 100% ocean-bound plastic waste into a viable, premium packaging material that’s safe and durable.
 
In the process of creating its #tide ocean materials, the company works closely with local communities to close the circle of plastic waste pollution, organizing beach clean-ups and paying fair wages to waste pickers and fishermen collecting plastics. Its business model not only secures a steady source of raw material, but also establishes resilient waste management infrastructures that has high involvement of local populations–a critically important step in the journey to solving the global scourge of plastic pollution.
 

Accountability at Every Turn

#tide is laser focused on fostering trust and accountability at every step of its ocean-bound plastic supply chain and has built a model of unmatched transparency and traceability into every step of the process, from the collection and processing of PET, PP, HDPE, and LDPEthrough to material distribution and manufacturing. The process hinges on a strategic partnership with Empower, a Norwegian tech company, that keeps track of #tide ocean material’s® flow through every step of the journey. Data such as photos, dates, volumes and information about each individual process is saved on a public blockchain for maximum transparency and security. Every batch of #tide ocean material has its unique material passport, accessible through a QR code making the journey fully traceable from the end-product back to where they were collected.
 
The process begins with the collection of ocean-bound plastic, which is then sorted, cleaned and shredded into flakes before being engineered into a raw, upcycled packaging material. There is 0% of virgin plastic present in #tide ocean material®. In three years, #tide has upcycled the equivalent of over 50 million plastic bottles.

Tide Ocean SA sources most of its plastic in Southeast Asia, namely in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines—regions where solutions to plastic pollution in the ocean are urgently needed. Due to a lack of waste management systems and infrastructures, most of the plastic waste present in coastal regions ends up in the ocean. The company is working to expand its collection efforts to include other regions in Central-, Latin America and to the African continent. by 2025.
 
#tide’s goal extends beyond being a recycling company providing a durable plastic waste solution. By building a global supply chain for a premium second life raw material made from 100% ocean plastic, Tide Ocean SA is committed to demonstrating what conscious entrepreneurship should look like in the 21st Century. The company is both a material supplier and a strong label for social and environmental sustainability and transparency.
 
Seacliff Beauty Partnership

 Another facet of #tide’s business is fostering relationships with responsibly minded manufacturers that are equipped and committed to stewarding the company’s eco-conscious ethos. So far, #tide ocean material granules have been used for plastic injection processes, filament for 3D printing and also incorporated into yarns for textile fabrics. The materials have been applied to an endless variety of durable product from reputable brands such as Tom Ford, Hugo Boss, Maurice Lacroix, Winter & Company and Yamamay in applications spanning from watches to furniture, automotive parts to apparel, carpets to sports floors and consumer electronics. 
 
One of #tides’ most recent manufacturing partnerships, announced earlier this year, is with Seacliff Beauty–the only company to offer #tide ocean material packaging materials to the beauty and personal care packaging segment.
 
“As a company of innovative thinkers, we pride ourselves on being constantly aware of changes in the beauty industry, which makes us first to trend,” comments Vonda Simon, Seacliff Beauty’s co-founder and CEO. “In an industry that operates at a lightning-fast pace, we see opportunities to innovate, which always keeps our clients ahead of the curve and feel that environmental consciousness is essential in the ever-changing world of beauty.”
 
Seacliff Beauty is committed to transitioning the beauty industry standard towards using sustainable materials, greener formulation processes and responsible packaging solutions. “Through research into new innovations on sustainability we discovered #tide ocean material and reached out to them to further discuss potential partnership opportunities,” explains Amanda Deak, senior marketing manager. “They supply materials to large brands for products in the textile industry such as clothing, yarn and watch straps but we are the only partner that exclusively offers #tide for beauty packaging in the US.”
 
Seacliff Beauty offers #tide’s PET, PP, HDPE, and LDPE ocean-bound plastic resins up to 100% in packaging for color cosmetics, skincare, haircare, wellness and more. This offering is available in Seacliff’s stock packaging options as well as its custom designed packaging. Simon says the company is currently at work on several brand-focused beauty packaging developments that are set to launch soon.
 
Brian Saputo, Seacliff Beauty’s CTO/President, adds that one of the most unique aspects of #tide ocean material plastic is its QR code material passport that delivers complete traceability. “Transparency is the best way to counter skepticism and allegations ofgreenwashing while also providing the most straightforward path to building trust with our customers and their end-users,” he says. “Brands and consumers can scan the product/package’s QR material passport code to see the exact pickup location to transportation in the process and final destination, making the journey fully traceable from the end-product back to where the material was collected.”
 
Plastic With a Conscience

For brands seeking to bolster their ecological profile for customers who prioritize eco-friendly products and brand commitments, #tide ocean materials are a promising way to swap out virgin and commonly recycled plastics in favor of a plastic that makes a tangible contribution to removing plastic waste from oceans around the globe.
 
Saputo explains that #tide ocean material-origin plastic is a superior PCR with similarities to both PCR and virgin plastic due to the breakthrough, proprietary conversion process.   It can be used in virtual any rigid or flexible package configuration spanning bottles and jars to molded compacts and closures, in rations from as little as 10% and up to 100%. “We can use ocean-bound plastic for our existing lines of stock packaging as well as for custom innovations,” he says, noting that aesthetically, it bears many of the same properties as PCR packaging. Alongside its comparable tactile properties, #tide ocean material delivers opacity for tinted packaging applications, depending on how much product percentage is used, and the cost increase is marginal in comparison to standard and PCR plastic.
 
What’s more, #tide ocean materials are amenable to all of Seacliff Beauty’s package decoration options, such as silk screening, metallization and foiling, although Saputo advises that some limitations may apply if brands prefer that their package be recycle-ready after the product is used (which is the case for all recyclable packaging beyond ocean-bound plastic).
 
Seacliff Beauty’s partnership with #tide ocean materials represents another significant step in the company’s work to decrease it environmental impact without compromising on innovation for the discerning brand clients in the beauty and personal care industries. “We are always looking for innovative ways to produce more sustainable packaging in the industry,” Simon comments. “When we connected with #tide ocean material, this allowed for an entire new process and material for us to use and share with our customers and it was easy for use to incorporate this ground-breaking resin into our existing manufacturing process.”
 
For Seacliff Beauty, the promise and potential of #tide ocean material represents a sustainable solution to the pervasive problem of ocean-bound plastic waste without sacrificing quality or innovation, while at the same time improving global communities. “We are not only closing the loop when it comes to using this material, it also serves as an ethical and social responsibility,” Simon concludes.
 

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1.     “Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution.” PEW Charitable Trusts, 2020.

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