New kayak is made completely from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean

Sustainability |  2 min. read

Here’s the story of a company that is putting plastic INTO the ocean.  And – it’s a good thing.

Because the plastic that Odyssey Innovation puts into the water – is in the form of a kayak.  AND (second good thing) – that plastic used to make the kayak is recycled plastic trash that has been in the ocean.

(Courtesy of Odyssey Innovation)

So plastic trash out of the water – recycled-plastic-turned-into-kayak back in the water.  That’s nicely done.

This story started with a kayak too (the non-plastic variety).   Rob Thompson, founder of Odyssey (based in Cornwall, in the UK) was out on the water in his kayak, for a clean-up-the ocean-day.  And when he got back on shore, he thought there must be something to do with the plastics they’d brought in – instead of just tossing on land, everything they’d collected on water).

Fast forward through a couple of years spent researching, experimenting, trial and erroring – and Odyssey’s first recycled plastic kayak hit the water.  Today, they are out regularly, collecting plastic that’s wound up in the ocean and bringing it in for recycling.  Some of the plastic is polyethylene (from ethylene), which is recycled into high-density polyethylene and used to make their kayaks.  Other plastic, such as polypropylene and PET, not suitable for that purpose, gets turned into other things.

We like the way Odyssey puts it on their website:  “Plastics from the Ocean should be seen as a resource.  It’s unacceptable to remove this resource from our Oceans and bury or incinerate it if it can be recycled.”  As Rob Thompson told Forbes Magazine earlier this year:  “It’s absolutely crazy, in a society, that you end up with a resource causing an environmental problem.”

Agreed.  And taking plastic trash out of the ocean – putting that plastic back in the water as a kayak – that’s a creative (re)use of a valuable resource.

(A resource, by the way, which originally comes from petrochemicals — produced from either petroleum or natural gas.  Plastic bottles, for instance, are often made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is made from petrochemicals, ethylene and xylene.  Fishing nets, which too often end up as floating trash, those are generally made of polyethylene, the polymer made from ethylene, or nylon, a polymer that starts with the petrochemical benzene.)

Oh, if you’re interested, you can check out Odyssey’s kayaks for yourself.