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Okeanos was named one of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas!

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In the January edition of Set in Stone, we explore the impact plastic pollution has on a variety of industries, and dive deeper into the work being done behind the scenes to sound the alarm.
OKEANOS ® BUSINESS NEWSLETTER – January 2022
Patent pending agricultural film

Have you ever passed a farm and seen rows of crops covered in sheets of plastic? These sheets are called agricultural film and are used around the globe to insulate the crops, allowing the farmers to start planting earlier. In fact, the rural southern area of Almería, Spain has become known as “Mar de plástico,” (Plastic Ocean) serving as Europe’s winter garden, with plastic sheeting spread across 135 square miles!

Once crops grow, they push up through the plastic, and the film becomes a defacto insecticide barrier preventing the plants from getting eaten by bugs. Unfortunately, once the farmers are done using it, they attempt to pull it up themselves, potentially damaging their crops, or pay for someone to recycle and dispose of it. Worst of all, it often gets abandoned in an unused corner of their farm, or simply cut into small pieces into the soil.

In addition to film, Agricultural plastic of all types is an enormous contributor to waste. In the US alone, agricultural plastics account for 408,000 tons annually, which includes horticultural film, irrigation tubing, livestock plastics, as well as nursery and pesticide containers.

Fortunately, Okeanos’ Made from Stone technology can be a solution! Made From Stone’s new patent pending agricultural technology introduces calcium carbonate, which lowers the PH of the plants and enriches soil, using time release technology. In the case of agricultural film, the film will degrade, and biodegrade, allowing farmers to till it, shred it, and integrate the material back into the soil, addressing the plastic problem and improving the soil conditions at the same time. As for the other agricultural plastics…we’re working on solutions for those too!

If you are interested in receiving our White Paper on Agricultural Film, please contact trade@madefromstone.com 

 

we signed on the dotted line

 

Breaking News! Okeanos has signed on the dotted line, joining the call from some two million of the world’s largest corporations, countries, and citizens to demand a legally binding global treaty targeting marine plastic pollution!

The World Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Boston Consulting Group, is calling on governments to start the negotiation of a legally binding global treaty on marine plastic pollution at the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly in February 2022.

The goal of the treaty is to get everyone on-board to eliminate plastic leakage into the ocean by a specific date. In order for the treaty to be successful, it must include:

– Harmonized regulatory standards and common definitions across markets
– Clear national targets and action plans that aggregate to deliver on the treaty’s overarching objective
– Common reporting metrics and methodologies across the plastic value chain
– Coordinated investment approaches to support infrastructure development in key markets and innovation

We’ll be keeping an eye on the news to see if our world leaders take the marine plastic pollution pledge with us. Follow us on Linkedin where we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

 

run plastic man, run!

This past November, a Senegalese man stood out from the runners at the starting line of a marathon in Dakar. Dressed head to toe in plastic bags, Moudu Fall, or “Plastic Man,” as he has come to be known was not there to run the race, but simply to draw attention to his message: “I like my nation, I say no to plastic baggage.”

Armed with his plastic armor, inspired by a “Kankurang” — a Senegalese protector who warded off dangerous spirits, along with a team of volunteers who trailed the race route picking up discarded plastic bottles, Plastic Man, was there to make a statement, and tell his story.

During his time in the military, he was stationed throughout Senegal and noticed cows getting sick after consuming discarded plastic trash, fishermen struggling with their catch, and agricultural land being poisoned. He had to do something.

In 2006, Mr. Fall used his life financial savings, simply over $500, to kickstart his company, Senegal Propre, or Clear Senegal, which has since planted trees throughout town, recycled tires, and held conferences to educate his community about the dangers of single use plastics.

In Senegal, a broad plastic ban went into effect in 2020, however, thus far the government has had a tough time enforcing it. At the current rate, Senegal is estimated to produce more than 700,000 metric tons of plastic waste by 2025, compared to the 337,000 metric tons estimated to be produced in the USA.

This coming November, the world will look to Africa, which will play host to this year’s COP 27 in Egypt, to sound the alarm about plastic pollution and its effects on the environment. While the African continent contributes negligibly to the changing climate compared to the rest of the world, it is the most vulnerable region.

Okeanos will be on the ground in Sharm-el Sheikh to participate in these important conversations. Hopefully “Plastic Man” will be there lending his voice too! 

 

in the weeds

In data self-reported by Canopy Growth as part of its ESG report, the company revealed that emissions from their operations were equivalent to burning more than 65 million pounds of coal! That’s high!

The cannabis industry has exploded in recent years with legalization in cities all around the world. However, maintaining growing conditions requires enormous amounts of energy to maintain optimal temperature and humidity in the greenhouses.

A recent study by Colorado State University calculated that the average emissions of growing 1 kg of cannabis is approximately 3,600 kg. In contrast, a kilogram of tomatoes grown in a greenhouse heated with natural gas emits roughly 2 kgs of CO2!

However, the voluntary transparency that comes along with an annual ESG report is a positive trend that will hopefully become standard industry practice around the globe. If companies are transparent about their operations and the impact they have on the environment, they will be encouraged to foster positive change.

Our goal at Okeanos is to begin gathering the necessary data to publish our own ESG statement. In the meantime, read about our commitment to ESG here.  

 

Kareem, our Technical Sales Associate

Meet Kareem, our Technical Sales Associate working in the Middle East.  Kareem brings his passion for sustainability and his insatiable curiosity to his work at Okeanos. To learn more about what drives him, read on!

Tell us about your childhood. Did you spend time by the ocean?   

My childhood was split between two countries, my hometown Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where my dad worked. The cities where I lived in both countries had beautiful beaches, and my dad would take my sister and I every now and then to go fishing. I don’t remember catching many fish, but I do remember how clear the Red Sea looked. The sound of the crashing waves and the cries of the seagulls is always medicinal to me. My first interaction with the Pacific ocean was only four years ago when I visited California for the first time.

How have you noticed the conversation around sustainability change in the past several years in Egypt? 

In the past, the concept of sustainable consumption wasn’t commonplace for Egyptians, but in recent years it has evolved significantly. The markets in the northern cities have started using paper bags instead of plastic bags, plastic water bottles are now made from recycled material, the schools have put in place recycling bins to teach the upcoming generation about the importance of using materials that have a low impact on the environment.

You’re on the team responsible for introducing our solution to the Middle East. What aspect of the technology are your clients most excited about?  

The most excited thing about MFS technology is reducing the consumption of the plastic by 70% and the fact that there is no need to wait extra 10 years to apply the technology – we can do it now. We have changed the concepts of plastic industry in the world by using 80% of CaCO3 in our compounds and maintain the same mechanical properties of the end products made from pure plastics.

How has working for an environmentally focused company impacted the choices you make in your daily life?      

I have started choosing products that aren’t packaged in plastic as much as I can when I do my grocery shopping. If I can carry them without a plastic bag, I surely do so. I even started raising awareness to the people around me whenever the topic of environmentally friendly products comes up. I also try and collect plastic trash whenever I see it to throw it into the nearest recycling bin.

If you could pick a body of water anywhere in the world to spend time near, where would it be?  

It would be Lanai in Hawaii. The island has many different plant species which indicates its environmental health. I would love to immerse myself in an environment where sustainability is common practice.

What new skill or hobby did you pick up during quarantine? 

During quarantine I discovered that research is truly one of my hobbies. I’m now the first to just “google it “before asking a question to sate my curiosity.

Now that the world is beginning to re-open, what is the thing you’re most looking forward to? 

I’m looking forward to traveling! I have always enjoyed meeting new people from different cultures, noting the differences, and learning about the benefits of them. After being stuck in my city for quite sometime, I’m even more anxious to get out and explore.

The UK Government recently rolled out plans to give condiment packages the squeeze in an attempt to further curb plastic pollution.

The UK Government recently rolled out plans to give condiment packages the squeeze in an attempt to further curb plastic pollution.

Plans from the UK’s Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs will target plastic waste that cannot be easily recycled. The new ban includes plastic plates, condiment sachets, mini milk pots, and salad dressing packets.

These little packets, popular at restaurants around the world, are often problematic for recyclers. Their small size and contamination with food make them difficult to segregate, clean, and re-process.

sea-ing-is-believing

In this section of Set In Stone, we like to highlight the surprising, unique, and unusual phenomena and creatures that make our Okeanos worth preserving.

Did you know that sea otters don’t have blubber, so in order to stay warm, they eat a quarter of their body weight in food per day? An interesting new study says the eating habits of these cute critters could be key to helping to fight climate change!

Sea urchins, which are calorically dense and easy to catch, are among the favorite foods of otters. In fact, sea otters eat so many urchins that they help control the urchin population in the kelp forests where they live. Globally, kelp and other seaweeds are thought to sequester nearly 200 million tonnes of CO2 every year. Studies found that without the presence of the sea otters, the herbivorous urchins chew through the kelp beds, ripping them from their roots and eating new seaweed as it grows.

The continued presence and health of kelp forests helps capture carbon from the atmosphere and stores it as biomass, preventing it from being converted back into carbon dioxide and contributing to climate change.

Scientists recently found that the presence of sea otters across an area the size of Costa Rica, is capable of storing 4.4 to 8.7 million tonnes of carbon, compared to if an otter-free area of the same size. That’s more carbon than that emitted from a million passenger cars for a year!

Check out Friends Of The Sea Otter, an organization
working hard to protect these kelp-eating cuties!


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