Reuse of plastics from the sea helps fight global pandemic

The reuse of waste is increasingly practiced in various activities. Not only traditional waste recycling, and electronic recycling are becoming more and more common. Now, the sea and the oceans are a source of recycling and reuse of waste to create items that can be used during the pandemic. Thanks to marine plastic, today the diving organization PADI manufactures face masks. 

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) initiative to reuse these materials that pollute the sea is quite beneficial because it addresses two problems. The first is the recycling of plastic waste, which has been on the rise, and the production of face masks that protect against the coronavirus. Thanks to a partnership with the Irish water sports clothing company RashR, bottles are being used for recycling and transformed into face masks.

As if that were not enough, this project also supports the health of patients with lung diseases. The third benefit of this partnership between PADI and RashR is the donation of $2.25 from the sales of these masks to the Irish Pulmonary Fibrosis Association. More than 500 kg of plastic has already been recycled into masks that are sold for the cost of production alone. 

CNN interviewed PADI Worldwide’s vice president of consumer marketing, Lisa Nicklin, who highlighted the organization’s commitment to the environment and society. “We care about the ocean and our diver community, so we wanted to be able to put our hands on our hearts and say that we’re not profiting off this difficult time.”

Efforts combining recycling and pandemic solutions

Companies in other parts of the world are replicating the same strategy of reusing plastic from the oceans to combat the pandemic. In the Netherlands, Precious Plastic shares its designs for plastic recycling machines. According to the company, its models can make personal protective equipment (PPE) 75 times faster than 3D printers. Some of their designs include recycled visors and a device to open doors without touching them, preventing contact with public spaces and decreasing the spread of the virus. 

Cornwall in England has an online marketing agency that reuses recycled water bottles to 3D print face shields. Float Digital is the company in charge of this initiative that benefits healthcare workers during the pandemic. The Philippines also makes visors and face masks for front-line workers from recycled plastic. 

Plastic for transformation into useful items during the pandemic is also extracted from traditional recycling boxes. For example, in Gulu, Uganda, Takataka Plastics is a social enterprise that recycles plastic waste into visors. Thanks to this work, health personnel in the African country can continue to carry out their functions and prevent the spread of the disease. 

It is no myth that the use of these items prevents the spread of the coronavirus. According to Statista, wearing face masks and social distancing reduces COVID-19 transmission. Face and eye protection are important, and thanks to corporate efforts, more visors and masks are being manufactured. Some companies around the world have already changed their business model to join recycling and fight against the pandemic.

More awareness to preserve the sea

From September 18-26, PADI celebrated the fourth AWARE Week that included dive centers, resorts, and professional divers from around the world to promote awareness and commitment to conservation. This initiative was born in 2018 so that divers can raise their voices in favor of the ocean and generate awareness about the danger of waste in the sea and its consequences on the ecosystem.

“PADI and PADI AWARE Foundation believe in the power of people to help address threats facing our ocean today and that large-scale transformation starts with individuals acting locally for global impact,” explained Kristin Valette Wirth, who is chief brand and membership officer for PADI Worldwide. 

Some of the advances in awareness include the PADI Conservation Plan, a project that promotes conservation in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The program focuses attention on the protection of vulnerable species and existing marine debris. Furthermore, critical marine issues such as climate change, marine protected areas, and coral reefs are also discussed. 

PADI seeks to include more people around the world to become ocean ambassadors and contribute to efforts to save the ocean. “Protecting the ocean requires the actions of everyone around the globe working together,” Valette Wirth said to EcoWatch. The reuse of recyclable materials is becoming a common trend in the private and public sectors. Likewise, various organizations and social enterprises around the world have succeeded in developing their work models based on recycling and reuse. 

For example, at eSmart Recycling, we work with electronic recycling to put devices to better use. In our case, we use the funds to donate computers to vulnerable children and families who do not have access to these technologies, and that the pandemic situation worsened the gaps. Working to mitigate the social and environmental problems caused by the pandemic is everyone’s job.

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