Catching the Wave of Ocean Pollution
Author: Responsible Business News / Date: 29 October 2022
Our ocean's plastic pollution has terrible effects on biodiversity, fishing, tourism, and coastal communities. In order to address this issue, the EU has taken numerous actions, including direct legislative measures, awareness-raising efforts (such as the ongoing #EUBeachCleanup), and financial support for creative projects addressing marine plastic pollution. One of those initiatives is the EU-funded project "STRANDET," which helps recycle a significant volume of plastic that has been gathered on beaches in Denmark's north-west Jutland.
STRANDET (pronounced “stranded”) project gathers trash from nearby beaches, recycles it, and uses it to make surfboard fins. STRANDET was established in 2018 as a result of Anne Julie Müller and Jens Wilhelm Jrgensen’s determination to actively combat marine plastic pollution on a local level. In the village of Nrre Vorupr, they converted an ancient gas station into the STRANDET headquarters in 2019, complete with a coffee shop and a workshop for sea plastic. They aimed to eliminate plastic and other types of waste from the Danish west coast. In addition, Nrre Vorupr (located within Denmark’s Thy national park) is a watersports destination that is popular with surfers, making it the perfect place to establish such an endeavour.
At the start, the creators created basic items like keychains, phone covers, and tiny bowls using their own machines. But in 2019, they gathered a lot more trash from the ocean than they could recycle. They consequently made the decision to put into action a concept that enables the recycling of ocean plastic in a broader and more industrial production chain. By scaling up and streamlining the recycling and creation of new items, they grew the company.
This project, which produced new business opportunities, dealt with the manufacture of surfboard fins. The objective was to demonstrate how ocean plastic may be used in a circular economy to produce high-quality and useful products by replacing virgin plastic. The Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), which served as a conduit for the EU money, was used to expand the project’s production tools and increase its exposure.
Julie is in charge of company growth, CO2 accounts, and coordination. She has experience working with plastic pollution, green transition, and sustainable business growth from both local and global perspectives. Jens has experience managing campaigns for a sizable humanitarian organisation. He is in charge of both product creation and the dissemination of information about the plastic problem.
As stated in the STRANDET mission: “Keeping the beaches along the West Coast free of plastic and emphasising plastic pollution locally as well as globally,” the partners are creating a sustainable business through a combination of design, recycling, waste management, and new production. Numerous hundred schoolchildren visit the workshop each year to learn about plastic recycling and assist in creating miniature plastic things. The project owners take part in discussions about how entrepreneurship can embrace the green transition.
Plastic from the beaches could be used as raw material by regional production enterprises thanks to the project’s product development. Work completed as part of the project follows a quick, locally anchored procedure, leaving a small environmental footprint and fostering the growth of the neighbourhood’s circular economy. In fact, a local maker of plastics as well as a business that specialises in creating plastic prototypes and moulds are among the project’s main partners. Regarding the handling and recycling of marine plastic, the project serves as both a knowledge hub and a beacon.
The project partners would not have had the financial resources to develop their idea and produce commercial quantities of sea plastic surf fins. The EU’s assistance has been critical to the project’s success, bringing tangible benefits to the local community, the ocean…and the surfers.