Building material group Kingspan has partnered with a foundation that removes plastic from the ocean, and the company plans to reuse as much of the plastic recovered as it can in its production.
The three-year partnership with the EcoAlf Foundation will see Kingspan help to remove up to 150 tonnes of waste from the Mediterranean each year through the foundation's network of fishermen.
Mike Stenson is Head of Innovation with Kingspan. "EcoAlf have a network of fishermen who recover the waste from the sea and make it available to us and we put it into a raw material and it eventually becomes insulation."
Kingspan is already manufacturing insulation using recycled plastic but from today will be adding recovered ocean plastic to this manufacturing chain, made with raw materials from its plant near Barcelona, Spain.
This plant already recycles 250 million bottles each year and has set an ambitious target to quadruple this over six years, to 1 billion bottles.
The cost of the initiative for the Irish building materials company is quite small. "We pay for recycled plastic as part of our raw material procurement process, and this will be along the same lines," he said.
Currently only 9% of the plastic ever made in the world has been recycled, and according to the United Nations Environment Programme, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year -equivalent to dumping a rubbish truck of plastic every minute.