While the Internet gets excited about the fact that the new polymer five pound note plays vinyl, we’re celebrating five projects that help with our planet’s plastic problem. The synthetic material is used everywhere, but it also ends up everywhere – mostly in landfills. (For the record, you can also play a record with your fingernail or an empty packet of crisps.)


1. The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup is developing world’s first feasible method to rid the oceans of plastic. The Ocean Cleanup’s goal is to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution by initiating the largest cleanup in history.

Mopping up a sea of plastic

A 21-year-old from The Netherlands wants to remove plastic from the world’s oceans using floating booms. Tests in the North Sea show Boyan Slat‘s plan is working: “In the past, technological advances have often come with a cost to the environment. I hope in this century The Ocean Cleanup can be used as a symbol for using technology to actually make things better.” Boom!


2. The Plastic Bank 

The Plastic Bank

Banking what the sea spits back

A lifelong boater and “beach bum” wants to stop virgin plastic from entering the ocean ever again by converting collected plastic into currency – and helping poverty while at it. The aim is to convince Coca Cola and Pepsi to use their ‘Social Plastic‘ too. (Other colas are available.)


3. Precious Plastic

Precious Plastic

DIY plastic recycling workshops

Plastic recycling isn’t just for the big guns. Dutch designer Dave Hakkens is boosting plastic recycling by helping everyone create their own little DIY workshop, start a new business and clean up their neighbourhood.


4. Plastic Bottle Village

plastic bottle village

Jungle village hits the bottle

From plant pots to art installations, the humble plastic bottle has been recycled in a wide variety of ways. However, a jungle village in Panama is taking recycling to another level by constructing the world’s first village made from empties.


5. Edible Six Pack Rings

Saltwater Brewery Edible Ring Pulls

Edible beer packaging

While surfers, fishermen and sea-lovers might be aware of the devastating impact of discarded plastic, not everyone knows that marine wildlife chokes on the manmade waste. This delicious six pack rings feed instead of kill. (No turtles were harmed in the making of this video.)



Many records were harmed in the making of this photo