2022 is part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science and this year’s World Oceans Day theme is “Revitalization: collective action for the ocean”. Why is it important to put the oceans in such a spotlight and talk about their future?
Well, we could say that it’s because they cover over 70% of the planet. We could say that it’s because they produce at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen. Or because they are home to most of Earth’s biodiversity. Well, the right answer is: all of these reasons combined. Milestone dates like June 8th (the #WorldOceansDay) exist to spread awareness and remind us that the oceans need urgent support to survive.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, at least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, and the material makes up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Also, “with 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished”, states the United Nations. “We need to work together to create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life”, they add.
At Impact Hub, we are proud to support collective action and impact ventures that are moving in that direction, the oceans revitalization one. Get inspired by three stories of social enterprises from our network that are restoring our hopes and solving the plastic problem affecting our seas.
Gravity Wave: community engagement for the oceans cleanup
Gravity Wave is a Spain & Greece-based social enterprise that believes that taking care of the seas and oceans is the only way to build a future with a clean and vital planet. To fulfill that vision, their mission is to gather and involve companies, entities and people in the process of cleaning the oceans up.
As almost 50% of all the plastic waste that exists in the sea is made up of abandoned fishing nets, that’s their biggest target. In partnership with Enaleia – a foundation that works with traditional fishermen from the Mediterranean Sea -, they collect the plastic fishing nets from the bottom of the sea and give a new life to the material.
Thanks to all the fishermen and support from 75 companies, they have already collected more than 25 thousand kilos of plastic waste from the Mediterranean and more than 31 thousand kilos of prevention plastics from ports since 2019. To avoid that the collected waste returns to nature, they empower companies and entities to take action in favor of the oceans through different campaigns and by upcycling it into valuable products for people.
Gravity Wave is a member of Impact Hub Madrid.
D3Aak: leading the innovation way buy building recyclable boats
D3Aak is an Amsterdam-based company setting the example in the water sports industry by making it more sustainable, innovative and environmentally friendly. What do they do? They develop and sell 3D-printed and 100% recyclable open boats made from recycled plastic.
The materials used by the venture to build the boats are collected from initiatives dedicated to the retrieving waste from the oceans, such as the Ocean Cleaun-up Project, and they use no chemicals to process them. Additionally, they guarantee that at the end of their product life cycle, the boats are retracted from water, transformed into raw material again and completely reused again.
D3Aak participated in the Business Model Challenge | Plastics program run by Impact Hub Amsterdam.
Green Ecoworks: turning plastic waste into everyday useful materials
Over 2.58 million metric tonnes of raw plastic is imported into Ghana each year and 73% of this ends up as waste. With only up to 5% of plastic waste being recycled, the rest accumulates in the environment or ends up in landfills and nearly 30% ends up in the Atlantic ocean. As a result, Ghana is one of the top 10 most polluted countries in the world.
Founded in 2019, Green Ecoworks was born as a solution to tackle waste management and plastic pollution in the country. Their mission is to transform waste into profitable and valuable everyday products, reducing environmental pollution and creating better economic outcomes across the commercial wood value chain.
The Ghanian-based venture recycles collected plastic waste into beams, blocks, slabs and sheets for temporary structures like kiosks, furniture and segregation bins. In terms of process, the company buys collected plastic waste from aggregators, shreds it, processes it into sheets and sells them to artisans, furniture makers and real estate companies for construction and home use.
Green Ecoworks participated in the 2019 edition of the New Economy Booster program.