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News That Rocks: Willow Ridge is now part of the Okeanos family.
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This January, Okeanos is excited to introduce a recyclable stone solution to multi-layer barrier products. Brand owners and manufacturers: You can now wrap your cookies, candy, chips, snacks, coffee, and more…in Stone!Introducing Made From Stone Flexible Barrier Film. Unlike multi-layer barrier film products currently available on the market, Made From Stone’s mono-material technology allows for reliability, offering improved sealing and anti-static properties, as well as superior protection against moisture, oxygen, odor, and light. Made From Stone’s technology can also be credited with a reduction in the packaging’s carbon footprint, and a reduction in overall plastic content.

To learn how to break barriers with your barrier film and reduce your
plastic content and carbon footprint contact Trade@madefromstone.com 



 

Did you know that Europe generates twenty-five million tons of plastic waste per year? This staggering amount of plastic could fill ten professional football stadiums! Unfortunately, less than 30% of Europe’s plastic is recycled, and whatever isn’t landfilled or incinerated, has in the past been shipped to developing nations in exchange for cash.

According to German broadcast network Deutsche Welle, “the E.U. exported 1.5 million tons of plastic waste, mostly to Turkey and Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.”  However, thanks to a new EU regulation which went into effect on January 1st, 2021 – the EU’s plastic trash is now the EU’s problem.

This new law, which is part of sweeping environmental legislation called the European Green Deal, means that the EU’s 27 member nations can no longer ship their non-recyclable plastic trash to developing nations. This new regulation forces countries inside the European Union to take responsibility for the waste each country generates.

For poorer countries whose waste management infrastructure can’t support the influx of trash or sustainably treat it, they are often faced with another problem – chemical contaminants which leech from plastic waste into the environment, harming marine life, and working their way into the food chain. Heng Kiah Chun, a member of Greenpeace Malaysia explains “the illegal dumping of plastic waste from over 19 countries worldwide has left an indelible mark on Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia.”

As Europe and the rest of the world work toward a more circular economy, Okeanos is also doing our part to stem the rising plastic tide around the globe, and especially in places like Malaysia, where Okeanos is beginning operations this month! Scroll down to the video below to learn more about Okeanos Malaysia.



 

Welcome aboard our journey to Malaysia. In this video you’ll explore the wonders of Malaysia through it’s multicultural people, food, beautiful beaches and forests. You’ll also learn about the unfortunate ways plastic and waste pollution from other countries are harming their environment, and why Made From Stone is sailing in to make waves of change in the diverse and wondrous place!  Check out our other Okeanos locations!


Click Here to Watch!



 

Do you want a side of Microplastics with your mussels this evening?

An astonishing 2020 study of five different types of seafood found plastic in every sample they tested. Microplastics easily travel up the food chain as smaller organisms are eaten by larger ones, eventually ending up on your dinner plate! While researchers don’t yet know the effects of ingesting plastic in humans, studies show that they could have wide-reaching consequences.

In a previous issue of Set in Stone, we spoke to marine biologist Nan Hauser about looking to whales as bioindicators of climate change. The study of the mating and migration patterns of these massive mammals can teach us a lot, but is there anything their tiny marine counterparts on the other end of the food chain can tell us?

Chief Scientist for The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris program Amy Uhrin explains that in order for an organism to be considered a bioindicator, it should be “globally distributed, it should be abundant, and it should be known to respond to your contaminant of interest.” In an excellent episode of the NOAA Ocean Podcast host Troy Kitch dives into why Mrs. Uhrin and her colleagues think Mussels make great environmental monitoring devices in our fight against contaminants. Hint: these mighty little mollusks stay put in one place, live in large groups providing larger samples, and filter large amounts of water, allowing concentrated chemicals and particles to flow through their bivalve shells.

Since mussels are eaten whole by humans, the ongoing study looks at the absorption of chemicals, microplastics and fibers. The program, called Mussel Watch, monitors chemical pollutants in waterways by studying the tissue and digestion of mussels and oysters. The longest continually running scientific program of its kind, Mussel Watch samples mollusks in 300+ locations including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, as well as the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts.

So, what did the study find? It turns out that of all the contaminants, microfibers were the most ingested microplastics found in this group of mussels. A partner study also discovered that oysters are picky eaters! Evidence showed that their discerning palate means they selectively reject spherical particles more often than fibers.

We, as a society, need to take a nod from these oysters and be a bit pickier in the products we use every day. Choosing packaging that reduces the amount of plastic at the source can make an immediate dent in the amount of microplastics finding their way into our ocean and onto our plates.

Click here to learn more about microplastics from a new video posted to our YouTube!



 

Eco-nnect is a leading digital voice in the social sustainability conversation. Founded by Renata, Isabella, and Almudena, eco-nnect has a passionate and dedicated following of modern environmentalists around the world. They engage with and challenge their community through social media, podcasts, quizzes, articles, and newsletters, creating an interactive platform for sharing sustainable ideas.  Eco-nnect is a perfect example of how one voice (or in their case 3) can make a difference.  Read on as we chat with Renata, Isabella, and Almudena about the ways they stay “eco-nnected” with their audience, one another and what drives their passion for sustainability.

Q.: Tell us about your background and how eco-nnect came to be an important digital voice on behalf of the environment? 

A.: Eco-nnect began as a newsletter. All three of us are passionate about the environment, and it seemed that most of our friends came to us for advice about the topic, so we decided to share that information in a palatable format: a weekly newsletter on a bit of everything that is eco. Then we took on social media, sharing our articles and creating digital content that showcased what was happening whilst always offering an individual solution.

During college, Isabella purchased the domain eco-nnect.com but had no team to share the vision with. Almost serendipitously a year later Isabella met Almudena– a graduate in Sustainable Development and Environmental Management. Together, we began brainstorming how to approach an environmental digital platform. A year after that, Renata (who was a longtime friend of both) was looking for a project, and as an environmental photographer she joined the team helping us grow our community.

Q.:  When one thinks of a career in Sustainability, they don’t usually think of social media. Can you explain why social media is a powerful platform for having conversations about the environment?

A.: Social media can be a powerful tool of good (as well as evil). In our case, we want to change the minds of the unconverted – to reach the masses and teach them what we know. We aimed to make eco-nnect a place of interaction, of debate, and of constant growth. The path to a sustainable lifestyle begins with knowing the truth, we want to dispel the myths and shed light on the many wonderful projects and habit changes you can make to lead a healthier, happier life.

Q.: When you decided to start eco-nnect, how did you differentiate it from other “eco-friendly” businesses?  

A.: Our main challenge was to be the non-obviously eco, yet still remain an eco-brand. We want our brand to look cool, welcoming and modern, instead of the commonplace tree-hugging experiences you find in most environmental NGOs. Yes, we want our information to inspire you to change, but we also want it to show that it fits with the current trends, to nudge you in an embracing way, rather than finger pointing.

Q.:  Your audience is engaged and curious. How do you keep them interested in topics that are often multi-layered and dense? 

A.: By constantly delivering them with a solution. We know that the doomsday approach automatically turns people off, so we seldom give facts without a way for the individual to act upon it. Climate change is such an all-encompassing problem that often makes one feel powerless, instead we want our community to feel empowered.

Q.: Eco-nnect also retails a line of zero-waste and non-toxic products. What inspired you to convert your digital movement to physical products? 

A.: Our research. We wanted eco-nnect to be a place where people could connect with companies with which they shared their values, and a carbon offset membership and a zero-waste store seemed like the natural next steps.

Q.:  What companies, projects or products make you optimistic about the future of sustainability? 

A.: Loads!! Here’s a shortlist

  • Haeckles – a leader in skin care and sustainable business
  • Ecovative – bio contributing meat and packaging alternative
  • Okeanos -MadefromStone a viable solution to plastic packaging
  • Good Catch – the vegan alternative to canned tuna
  • Ice911 – using silica to reflect the sun back in the Arctic
  • Revive eco – turning coffee ground waste into a palm oil substitute


 

Santiago has been a vital addition to the Okeanos Accounting department, blending his passion for the environment, with his upbeat attitude, and skillset. In 2021, he’ll embark on a new challenge – joining Okeanos Argentina! Read about Santiago’s journey from Buenos Aires to Miami and back below!

Q.: Tell us about your childhood. Did you spend much time by the ocean as a kid?

A.: I grew up in a city called Temperley in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We used to spend all our summers with my family in a place by the ocean called Pinamar. It’s a beautiful place with plenty of trees, forests, and beaches- our favorite place in the world. I remember waking up and listen to the birds, breathing pure air, and then going to the ocean and spending hours there even though the water was cold and brown.

When I moved to Miami this year, I was shocked about the beaches and the blue ocean here. In the summer, I used to spend all my free time at the beach with my brother and my friends.

Q.:  You’re a twin, right? How are you and your brother most alike, and how are you most different? 

A.: Yes, he’s my identical twin! We are very alike and did almost everything together from  the time we were young. We went to same schools, played soccer together, and studied the same thing. Being here in Miami is actually the first time that we’ve been separated in 25 years.

Q.:  When did you recognize your passion for the environment. Was there an event that ignited it? 

A.: As I was growing up, I became more interested in nature. I started to watch a lot of documentaries and read about the environment, and how detrimental we humans can be to it. I started to really understand the urgency of the problem. If we don’t do something now, future generations will not be able to enjoy going to the ocean as I did when I was a child. So, we must start questioning ourselves about the things we do, and how our actions can affect not only the environment, but also everyone else around the world.

Q.: What brought you to Okeanos? What most excites you about our mission? 

A.: I was applying for jobs and I saw an opportunity at Okeanos. I started researching the company and everything Okeanos does, and I was amazed. I knew I wanted to work here. What excites me most about our mission is that we are not only attacking single-use plastics and providing a solution for the environment now, but also Okeanos’ transparency in doing this.

Q.: What is the best part about working for Okeanos? 

A.: My favorite part about working for Okeanos is connecting with people around the world. Even though we haven’t met in person, I know that everybody shares my same passion, and works toward the same goal. There’s a great bond and connection with all the people that work at Okeanos.

Q.: You’re headed to open up Okeanos Argentina – Is there a strong culture of sustainability there? 

A.: There is. People are beginning to raise their voices and trying to educate others. More and more people are beginning to understand that our behaviors have consequences if we don’t take care of our environment. We must understand that we are tied to everything that is around us, and that our actions affect everything and everybody. Instead of taking things away things from our environment, we must work to improve it and nature will reward us in kind.

Q.: Tell us about one skill or hobby you’ve picked up during quarantine. 

A.: One thing that I’ve picked up during quarantine is cooking. I always liked cooking and quarantine made it better. I have been cooking everything, but I became vegetarian this year, so I learned how to cook different vegetarian and vegan food, like homemade veggie burgers, risotto, meatless meatballs!


Want to keep up with us? Check us out on 

  • Okeanos - Facebook
  • Okeanos - Twitter
  • Okeanos - Instagram
  • Okeanos - Website
  • YT ICON

             News You Should Know 


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