No time for waste with Ocean Bottle.
How did the project start?
The project started when Will, our Co-Founder, was out working as a deckhand sailing the seas. He was overwhelmed at the vast amounts of plastic in the oceans and knew he had to do something about it.
What challenges were there along the way?
Finding a way to connect everyone to the plastic problem the world is facing is the challenge we have, it's a challenge the world has. Since we started the brand at the end of October 2018 we always knew we needed to have a mission that was simple, true and easy to get behind but also one that genuinely could make a huge impact. One that could really make a dent on the plastic pollution crisis.
For many, the oceans and the plastic crisis is so far away from people's day-to-day livelihoods. We have to try and make it relevant to people.
Many people think that beach and ocean clean-ups are the solution but actually 75% of ocean plastic comes from a lack of waste management. It's here we need to focus, that's why we set up and contribute to people-powered recycling infrastructure with our partners Plastic Bank.
How has COVID affected you?
It has definitely made a big impact on our revenue. But, as a result, we've found ways to be creative, more nimble, more innovative and focused as a team of six. We are focusing on things we know we can do together and that can really deliver an impact.
From a marketing perspective, we're hosting the state of the oceans webinars and connecting with people in ways that we might never have been able to before. It's opened up new opportunities for the team too. People from logistics and operations are coming up with content ideas. we're all working on NPD ideas.
What responsibilities do you think brands have to provide conscious products?
It's our duty to provide conscious products. Climate change is impossible to ignore now and whatever size your company you must adapt your supply chain, internal practices, product and communications to be more responsible.
There are many resources, frameworks and tools to do this. I'd start with the UN sustainable development goals as a framework and work back from there as to how you can make what you do more responsible and better.
What inspired you along the design process?
From a product design perspective, we learned a lot from looking at circular design theory and practice, a cradle-to-cradle approach. We literally spent thousands of hours with K8 Design, our design partners in Norway exploring what it takes to make a truly innovative, useful, functional & responsibly-made reusable bottle that will last a lifetime. But, one that at the end of its life can be recycled efficiently and effectively to go back into the production system.
One of the issues we're facing is that no one has yet thought about the afterlife of reusable bottles. We are in the process of creating a system where we can recycle people's old bottles but also looking at ways of getting other companies and producers on board with this system.
Which brands do you admire?
Patagonia are obviously leaders in their field on so many levels. I think Reformation in the US has done a great job of making sustainability sexy. I admire some of the corporates too for their ability to adapt. It's far easier to start the right way from scratch, it takes a lot to adapt once you have systems and models in place.
For me transparency is the key to progress, we need radical transparency from brands, people deserve to know where and how the products they are buying come from. I think that Airbnb are incredible in how they foster a culture of community, from the people that share their homes to the staff that work there.
What can you achieve as a brand moving forward?
All we need are people that are on the same journey, a relentless curiosity for making the world better and a wanting to affect change with their purchasing power. We have always been incredibly grateful for the people that chose to believe in us even before we had a product out there. They believed in us by backing our crowdfund.
Now we have 50,000 bottles out in the world, a proof of concept and a community of ocean-loving activists who we are looking forward to doing so much more with.