A few months ago I received an “out-of-office” auto-reply to an email I sent to Katie, an employee of Method, the environmentally-conscious product company. “Hi there. I'm fighting dirty in Hawaii and picking up plastic on a beach.”
It turns out the whole company was behind a brilliant idea to make bottles from a blend of plastic recovered from the ocean and post-consumer recycled plastic. The new, limited edition packaging is for a new Method product, a two-in-one hand and dish soap, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide and at methodhome.com starting this month.
The style of this new packaging is a departure from Method’s usual bright pops of color. Method’s intention was to leave the plastic in its natural state, and the gray color is a result of the chopping, washing and blending undergoes during recycling. Inspiration for the package texture was drawn from a sea urchin, with small ridges running the length of the bottle.
“By recycling and reusing plastic to make our bottles, we turn off the tap of plastic flowing into our oceans and take the first, most important step toward solving the ocean plastic problem.” said Adam Lowry, Method co-founder and chief greenskeeper. “Our goal with ocean plastic packaging is to show that the most viable solution to our plastic pollution problem is using the plastic that’s already on the planet. Method’s ocean plastic bottle demonstrates in the extreme that recycling is possible.”
Method hopes to demonstrate how business can tackle environmental problems, and that there are smarter ways to make plastic rather than using virgin material. Nearly all of Method’s packaging is made from 100 percent post- consumer recycled material, which is an effective way to reuse plastic and prevent it from ending up in landfills and oceans.
Using recovered ocean plastic is an innovative approach to sustainable packaging that fits perfect with the Method brand, and what it stands for.
“Method is really demonstrating how smart business can make a big impact for our planet,” said Errol Schweizer, executive global grocery coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We’re proud be partnering with them to raise awareness around this global issue and showcase new ways to use and reuse the plastics that are already on our earth.”
Over the past year and a half, Method employees have worked with volunteers from Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i and the Kōkua Hawai’i Foundation to hand-collect several tons of plastic from the beaches of Hawai’i, where the kinds of rigid, opaque plastic needed to make this packaging are most abundant. A portion of the product’s proceeds will go to these two Hawaiian organizations as part of Method’s efforts to establish an ongoing business model and supply chain for collecting and sorting plastic marine debris.
Method partnered with innovative recycler Envision Plastics to develop a new recycling process to make the bottles. The process allows rigid, opaque plastics recovered from the ocean to be cleaned, blended and then remanufactured into high quality recycled plastic that is the same quality as virgin high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic.
Method’s new two-in-one soap is available in two fragrances – sea minerals and sweet water, and comes with a huge dose of eco-consciousness.