Year in Review

This has been an amazing year for all us involved with Okeanos. What was nothing more than  an idea just a year ago is now a fully developed platform with a global presence which includes  offices in eight countries and the involvement of 120 amazingly dedicated and passionate people.

In 2020 we plan to expand our presence into many more countries, with the help of hundreds of new  team members. Together with our team, global brands, partners, and  NGO’s we will replace millions of kilos of plastic!

Okeanos was born out of need. We realized that replacing a plastic straw for one made out paper in a developed country (while well-intentioned) makes  impact on our extremely severe environmental problems, especially those affecting our oceans. Further, it became clear to us that the existing recycling infrastructure is simply not enough to turn the tide on our sick planet’s problem.

We see real challenges around the world, and this year we will continue to make a  real impact using our technology and education programs. Last month we announced the formation of Okeanos India, this month we are pleased to announce the formation of Okeanos Bangladesh, and next month we expect to announce the next international Okeanos office! We are changing the world one stone at a time – Keep reading to learn more.

Bangladesh, Time for Action

Okeanos enters the Bangladeshi market with a solution desperately needed by a country with such a very personal relationship with water – Bangladesh prides itself on its 700 rivers, that run for 24,140 km. Unfortunately, these beautiful rivers suffer from some of the worst plastic pollution in the world, despite very low per capita plastic use (5 kg/yr vs 109 kg/yr for the US). Given Bangladesh’s rapid population growth, urgent measures must be taken. 73,000,000 kilos of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year!

The good news is that Bangladesh has sufficient stone, and enormous technical talent to make MADE FROM STONE a long term, sustainable, and economical solution.

In tandem with our joint venture partner, the Rahman family, we will take on this challenge to change the minds of the 160 million Bangladeshis, and 5,000 companies making plastic, to switch to stone before is too late. We’ll accomplish this through a combination of technology, education and awareness; together with local sourcing and key partnerships.

Advertising agency Carrybee Limited will work with us to develop a significant awareness campaign that will include exhibitions, educational campaigns, news, media events, public signage, newspapers, and social media.

Our public kickoff event will be on Feb 15 at the Printing and Packaging Fair in Dhaka.

Jobs / Internships

MADE FROM STONE is fueled by the dedicated individuals who share our concern for he oceans, and believe that Okeanos is the solution. We are searching for individuals with a global point of view who are passionate, creative, and resourceful. We have jobs and internships available now in our Miami Beach office.

We are hiring in Marketing, Innovation, Sales, Finance, Legal, Engineering, Non-Profit, Accounting and Supply Chain jobs and internships.

If you believe that just replacing the paper straw is not enough and want to be part of the team, please apply to join

Plastivision Hall 4/Stall D2 – Come See Us!

Okeanos will be participating in Plastivision 2020, taking place January 16th-20th in Mumbai, India. Ranked among the top ten plastic industry events globally, Plastivision is technology and innovation driven, allowing businesses to exhibit their products and grow their network. Well respected in the industry for the past 73 years, the All India Plastics Manufacturers’ Association (AIPMA) has been home to many advances in the plastics industry. We’re honored to be participating this year, and look forward to meeting everyone and sharing our vision for replacing plastic with stone for a better world.  Please click here if you are interested in scheduling a meeting with our team.

Product & Innovation 

What’s new? The Stone Straw is rolling 

As we alluded to above, the plastic straw has become one of the most visible symbols of plastic pollution problem. While we believe in addressing the plastic problem in its entirety, the importance of this specific polluter has not escaped us- millions of plastic straws are used and disposed of every day globally, becoming an important contributor to marine, shoreline and land pollution.

Other companies have developed alternatives to plastic straws including: bamboo, glass, metal (stainless steel and tin), paper, even pasta; however, none of these are realistic solutions in terms of scale and price. At Okeanos our commitment is to develop realistic and adaptable solutions reducing/eliminating single use plastic by using calcium carbonate (CaCO2 – stone) as the main component in our packages.

Our first batch of stone straws are mostly made from stone, but more importantly, this stone straw decomposes into carbonyl groups that can be reincorporated into nature, and the carbon carbonate that we return back to nature. Our straws can be manufactured in any color – but we hope you pick our signature color, Okeanos Coral.

Have questions? Ask our technicians.

Diving deep into our solution: 

First, we recognize that our technology alone will not solve the problem. Education, conservation and awareness are desperately needed, particularly in a few global hotspots from where over 90% of the ocean pollution originates. We are all united by a single body of water, one Okeanos – ocean pollution knows no borders. For this reason, we’ve established the Okeanos Foundation, a (501c3) established to support global clean-up/conservation efforts, research, and education, particularly in high-impact areas. All products branded with Made From Stone™ collect a royalty which goes entirely into this foundation, overseen by leading individuals in the environmental field.

Second, while we are tremendously proud of our solution, we believe we can and must do better. For this reason, we are continuously investing in R&D to improve our product, specifically in limestone concentration and improvement of our binding agents. This includes both investment in existing patented technologies, partnerships with innovative companies, and in-house development with our talented team of scientists. Additionally, our R&D efforts include partnerships with conservation groups and public agencies to study our products ecological footprint and to avoid unintended negative environmental effects.

Third, while our company’s philosophy is clearly targeted at making an environmental difference, we place great importance on the impact we have on people. For this reason, we strive to support local economies by manufacturing locally, investing in joint ventures, pushing our suppliers to improve working conditions (both by example and by contract), and through the efforts of our foundation. We are establishing manufacturing capabilities in India, Vietnam, Colombia, Bangladesh and the Philippines – all in our first three months, using locally sourced stone and labor!

We have what we believe to be the only immediate solution to the single-use plastic problem – we claim the ability to achieve an up to 80% source reduction, now. Importantly, we are cognizant that there is room for improvement and strive to improve every version of our product continuously. We’ve priced our goods with global implementation in mind and we collect funds to clean up the existing problem with all branded products.

Introducing the New Member of Our SAB
Ambassador Jesoni Vitusagavulu – Fiji

When you hear the name Fiji you probably think of the dreamy island or of the bottled water company. We think of Ambassador Jesoni Vitusagavulu, our newest SAB (Scientific Advisory Board) member. When Vitusagavulu first discovered Okeanos it was evident he was a perfect fit to join the team because of his 40 years of working in both public and private sectors and in a multitude of industries like banking, diplomacy, trade promotions and others. However, one thing stood out to him and to us and that was his past, both where he grew up and with the company he helped develop, Fiji and Fiji Water.

He is from the place where we dream to vacation, the small islands surrounded by turquoise waters. He recounts his love for the ocean, sitting beneath coconut trees watching the waves, and how it was such an important resource for food, but also entertainment when he was growing up. Now, it seems though he is ready to make a change and help deter people from single use plastic to save the waters that surrounded his everyday life.

Vitusagavulu expressed how the Fiji Water company actually gave hope to smaller countries that they too could succeed in large exporting markets. However, that came with a cost which was plastic bottles. Vitusagavulu played a part in the start of Fiji Water and hopes to start making a change with Okeanos, he says “due to [Fiji Water’s] clever marketing…consumers are happy to pay premium price for it. The same lesson can be used by companies promoting preservation of the environment in their operation as a way to market their products.” He truly believes those who focus on sustainability will be the next big thing to capture the growing audience of consciously aware people.

Vitusagavulu is ready to be a role model. We are very happy to have him on board and are ready for what he will share with us.

Partner up! Global Green’s Program

Having a strong foundation to construct a home, a company, a goal is important, but how you build up is also pertinent to your structure. We at Okeanos know our foundation is solid and now we want to build up with others who are after the same things we are. Sustainability through means of recycling and diverting food waste. We are working with Global Green’s Eco-Ambassador program which educates, engages, and creates a group of people (particularly those in multi-family buildings) to bring sustainability into their homes.

These programs are found around the world and are a great way to incentivize residents to come together and build a greener living space. Many of the different programs require workshops and training time with different members and allows them to reach out to others to join. One of the teams in Seattle is called “Friends of Recycling and Composting,” or in short FORC. They have a system that allows them to see the rates their building is helping to recycle and compost and the more you do, the higher opportunity you have to save on your bill.

Seattle isn’t the only city we can look at but also Toronto, New York, Washington D.C., and more all of which have their own systems and goals set up. We can look at charts of each program to see the time commitment it will require, the types of ambassadors, incentives, and how many people have joined each one since their implementation. This is a great way to analyze and see where different groups can adjust in order to keep growing. We at Okeanos are very excited to work with such an important program and continue down the path of spreading sustainability in everyday ways.

Rockstar 2019:

María José Cárdena, VP Legal and HR – Venezuela 

At Okeanos we believe in fostering an environment where exemplary performance is acknowledged. While we do consider our successes to be a product of all our collaborative efforts, we would like to take this time to recognize this year’s Rockstar! The Okeanos Rockstar is someone who routinely represents the core values of this company and is elected by his peers.

Okeanos’ Rockstar for 2019 is María José Cárdenas our Director of Legal and HR. María José is an attorney, originally from Los Teques, Venezuela, her efforts at strengthening our culture are not unnoticed and her works ethic speaks for itself – being truly inspiring for the whole team and partners.

We would like you to know more about María José. Therefore, we asked her a few questions and we would like to share them with you:

How does it feel to be Okeanos Rockstar for 2019? Were you expecting this recognition from your peers and leadership team? 

I feel incredibly honored to be Okeanos’ Rockstar for 2019. I did not expect this at all because I work with such talented people. This award only makes me want to keep working even harder.

Why Okeanos?  

Since day one, I loved the project. I truly believe that we can make a change in the world. On a personal note, watching Okeanos grow into what it is now has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

It is a pleasure going to the office every single day. Okeanos gives you the opportunity to be YOU in your maximum potential. It gives you the opportunity to build, create and implement your own ideas. Okeanos gives you OPPORTUNITIES!

How did your perception of the company change within the past year?

I remember at the beginning this was just an idea drawn on a whiteboard. Now, we are a global company rapidly growing.  From four people few months ago, and I am proud to say that today we have more than 120 people around the world, working towards the same goal.

How would you describe Okeanos’ talent growth within the past year?

As I mentioned before, during this year, I had the opportunity to work with such talented people: engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, creatives, physics and more. Every month our team grows, and this has allowed Okeanos to become the company it is today.

What are our core values?

Commitment, passion, respect and love for the ocean.

How do you promote a strong sense of ownership from colleagues toward their work?  

From the HR department we always say that Okeanos is an extension of your family. We welcome new hires as new members of our family.

A family environment allows everybody to make mistakes, learn from them and keep moving. Every little thing we do in Okeanos affects others, so we tend to care so much more about our duties.

We LISTEN to every opinion, and we ENCOURAGE people to speak up! Okeanos is built with small but powerful ideas of each one of its members.

Are we supporting an environment where employees can manage the challenges of work and life in a healthy, productive, and sustainable manner? 

I truly believe so. We encourage our team to take time off, vacation, holidays and weekends… basically to have a healthy life. However, we know this is a challenge sometimes because of the speed at which we are growing can make it a demanding job.