Global Context

It is astounding how quickly our world can change in just a short period of time.  These past few weeks have been difficult for everyone. We have seen how COVID-19 has affected people all over the world, and want to thank those who are going the extra mile to help us all amidst this crisis. Thank you to the grocery store clerks who are showing up and  stocking shelves despite the chaos, the janitorial staff for cleaning our workplaces, teachers for creating online education and streaming classes, restaurant employees for serving us our meals when possible, the people staying home to avoid spreading the virus, and a huge thank you to the medical workers, researchers, nurses, caretakers, and doctors who cannot “stay home” during this time. We would like to say an extra big thank you to one of our very own, Dr. Grace Lozinski, for offering advice and support to our team, while continuing to work around the clock at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California to help those currently affected by Coronavirus.

Air Pollution Drops Across the Globe
As we continue following the news during this pandemic and collectively fighting this battle, we hope to bring a little positivity to your newsfeed. As the world seems to be coming to a halt with significantly reduced travel and production, regions around the world are seeing a significant drop in air pollution, CO2 levels, and methane.Researchers in New York have found that carbon monoxide has been reduced to almost 50%, attributed to less cars being on the road. The CO2 levels have fallen drastically and scientists say we may see the lowest levels recorded in over a decade. Other countries are seeing similar results. For example, in China there has been a 25% decrease in energy use and emissions in just a two-week span. Italy has recorded lower nitrogen dioxide levels, and the water in Venice has become clear enough to see fish again now that boats are not kicking up sediment and the lack of tourists has resulted in significantly less water pollution. Depending on how long the pandemic continues we may continue seeing these reductions around the globe and some say it may even start pushing some countries to implement new climate initiatives.Unfortunately, experts warn that pollution levels could drastically increase, reaching even higher levels than before, once the pandemic is under control. However, if we can share this knowledge, we believe it will get people thinking about the difference they can make in the future.  Maybe once we can begin our old routines again we will choose to ride a bike to work or to the grocery store instead of drive a car, or choose to buy locally, or to consume less. There is hope for an end to this pandemic with researchers working nonstop for a vaccine, and there is hope to make change for our planet’s future. We are all in this together.  *Source
Product InnovationOne of the biggest misconceptions people have about packaging that is Made From Stone™ is that the stone will cause them to be heavy and stiff, but in reality, they’re far from it. The packaging feels just like any other paper or plastic product in weight and can be made flexible when needed. A bag of chips will have the same crinkly movement of any other chip bag, and our straws will hold firm, but be able to be bent if needed.

At the outset, one of our major challenges was to create stone-based packaging that would float. Why is this so important? The U.S. and Europe have the largest recycling infrastructure in the world, and have special requirements for different types of packaging.  Certain types of plastics must float (with a density of less than 1kg/lt), while others should sink in order for them to be separated and then recycled appropriately. Without the floatability of our products we would not be recyclable. With this important requirement in mind, our innovation team worked on a number of very creative ways to make that happen. We are proud to announce that packaging Made From Stone does indeed float, and we’ve patented the technology! We are currently able to create floating bags, film, thermoformed products, and straws. The Okeanos innovation team continues to undertake further technical challenges and will be sure to continue to share our successes with you.

Can You Believe This is Not a Paper Cup!
All paper cups have a smooth coating on the inside to prevent beverages, hot or cold, from soaking into the paper and leaking. That lining is made from plastic. We have now created our own Made From Stone paper cup with a lining made with a majority percentage of calcium carbonate (stone). The cup was designed specifically for hot beverages, but a cold drink can be enjoyed with these cups too. The best part? The very fine lining will fully degrade in about three to six months and allow to the paper to decompose freely, or recycled if possible.  We are incredibly proud of our team for making this change in a product we see in many places to help reduce plastic pollution.

Rockstar of the Month!

Michaella Sena is a member of the Okeanos™ marketing department. Her dedication, hard work, passion for the environment, and her beautiful personality make her a joy to work with. Michaella’s background in advertising and Spanish is a huge asset to the Okeanos team.

1) What is your favorite part about working with Okeanos?

The passion of this community – when I come into work, I feel like I’m with friends. We’re all working together toward something greater, we can talk freely about our ideas…
and we get excited about what everyone has to offer. To me, that’s what work should be like!

2) How would you describe Okeanos’ mission to others?
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of this mission?  

I believe our mission is to save our one ocean. It connects all of us, and even someone who has no immediate connection with the it is still provided with oxygen essential for all life. We want to reduce plastic pollution as soon and as quickly as we can. The idea of “now” is what sets us apart. We see companies promising change by 2025 or 2050, but there’s not that much time – our climate crisis needs to change now, and that’s what we do at Okeanos. We promise the best we can now and if we can make it better as we continue to develop and grow, then we will! It’s better to make change in this moment, than to wait.

3) How do your personal and professional strengths contribute to Okeanos’ overall success? How would you leverage you major in advertising to make the difference and drive impact? 

I’ve always loved learning; in fact, I often joke around about how I’d be a great professional student. I think this is what helps me every day at Okeanos – it allows me to learn more and more about the plastic problem, and how to share that with others through the work we do at Okeanos. I have said from day one I don’t want to advertise anything that I don’t believe in. I want to advertise in a place that changes our future for the better. In advertising, you can’t do what everyone else is and you have to think about the future. Okeanos technology is the future and I have the knowledge, skills, and team to make sure it impacts the world.

4) In what way has Okeanos impacted your everyday life? Is sustainability apart of your personal life?

It validates so much of what I believe in, and that’s huge. To be surrounded by likeminded people and have the science and technology to make the change gives me hope for the future and a reason to keep speaking up for our planet each day. Sustainability is a big part of my daily life and though I’m not perfect, I try my best to pick up trash I find on the beach or in parks, share environmental news on social media, and not eat meat to reduce methane, fossil fuels, and water consumption. Did you know it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat? That’s insane!

5) What (or who) has inspired you to take action to reduce single-use plastic? How long ago was it? 

I’ve been an animal lover for my whole life – I had a jungle themed room as a kid, I owned pet snakes, birds, toads, turtles, lizards, cats, and dogs. I grew up boating and being on the water every weekend. Seeing injured or endangered marine life at the hands of humans really upset me. It’s animal life that inspires me because they didn’t choose for humans to destroy their habitats, so I want to make the change they need for a proper life. I also think about my nephews a lot and I want them to grow up in world filled with all animals and ecosystems. Sustainability is the act of doing something now that will not harm future generations and I think that pushes me as an adult to keep a beautiful world for them too!

6) Do you have any advice for those who want to start reducing their plastic waste?

Yes! Choose something that is realistic for you in your everyday life whether that’s not using produce bags, choosing to use a reusable water bottle, or picking up trash you walk past each day. If everyone makes a small change, it makes a huge impact. No matter where you are in your sustainability journey, you can make a difference.

7) What role do you think social media plays in helping people make more sustainable choices? 

To me, it has a hugely positive impact! I follow many sustainable living accounts and climate activists. I see how people are influenced to make the change from what is being shared. Yes, there will be haters and non-believers, but that’s with most things in life. Change is coming and one negative comment is not stopping the fight for a more sustainable future.

8) Tell us about a time you felt at one with nature and a quote you wish to share with the world. 

Anytime I’m outside, especially on the water, I feel one with nature. We would often sail, and there would be dolphins jumping alongside the boat. In the winter months, we’d be greeted by manatees in our canal. We would drop in a hose to give them fresh water to drink and rub their bellies. These were special moment when I felt the most connected. I want to leave everyone with my favorite quote from Salvador Dalí: “Intelligence without ambition, is a bird without wings.” This quote speaks for itself and perfectly encapsulates what I’ve been talking about throughout this interview: educate yourself on your passion and share it with the world.

Coral is the New GreenIs recycling a myth? Recycling to reduce waste is like a placebo; it makes you think you are solving a problem when you are not. The green triangle of arrows representing the slogan, “go green” fueled a movement that worked at first but is not efficient or effective. It might feel like we are making a difference when we recycle plastic, glass, aluminum and carboard, but this method simply can’t keep up with the amount of waste we as a society are producing.

Plastic use per capita has grown dramatically in most countries. Over the past 30 -years, the world utilization of plastics has increased rapidly, and we do not have a sustainable way to dispose of it. In fact, our recycling systems are so inadequate, we are forced to transport trash to other countries to be “dealt with.” The trash usually ends up being incinerated, polluting the air with even more carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.

What are shoppers doing? Due to constraints on time, budget, and information, most shoppers fall for greenwashed products that have unwarranted claims of being sustainable, eco-friendly, or environmentally friendly. It’s time to stop “going green” and switch to coral.

At Okeanos we give shoppers an alternative; push for Made From Stone, a fully circular solution. Our Made From Stone technology is made primarily of calcium carbonate which is a natural material harvested from the earth in a sustainable way. It reverts into calcium carbonate when it is disposed properly. Not only does it take less carbon dioxide to produce than paper, but calcium carbonate can even help the ocean reduce its carbon dioxide levels.

The color we know as “coral” – a reddish or pinkish shade of orange – is the color of calcium carbonate in the world’s oceans, usually found in seashells. At Okeanos we identify our degradable products with a coral stripe. Welcome to a new era, where “Coral is the New Green” and we are reinventing what it means to be an eco-conscious company.

Be a smarter shopper by choosing the products with the Made From Stone label or coral stripe, and voila! You’re part of the movement.

As we continue to grow, it is important for us to understand more about our consumers. Your input is incredibly valuable and we would appreciate if you would spend just a few minutes filling out the survey below. If you do not wish to answer a question you can leave it blank. All information is kept confidential and anonymous. Thank you!