According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year. Unfortunately, at least 14 million tons of that total ends up in the ocean every single year because plastics, for one reason or another, get disposed of and dumped in ways that aren’t environmentally friendly. In some parts of the world, there are options to recycle plastics. But even in places where wide-ranging schemes are available, it can still be difficult to recycle certain kinds of plastic — or, worse, people just don’t bother.
The end result is that a lot of plastic ends up in landfills or accidentally ends up on shorelines via sewers and drainage systems of large urban areas. Some plastic is even illegally dumped, straight into the ocean. This waste is bad for the environment in several ways. Marine creatures can get injured or killed by eating or becoming trapped in plastic debris. Any broken-down plastic becomes microscopic microplastics or nanoplastics, which gets consumed by sea life that we eat, and could ultimately end up inside us too, posing threats to our health.
Plastic pollution is also unsightly — a beach covered in plastic bottles isn’t picturesque and could discourage tourism, something that could put economies that rely on tourism at risk, especially in the developing world. All these environmental considerations help to explain why Boompods — a British electronics design company that makes peripherals, such as speakers, headphones, and ear buds, power banks and charging cables — is using recycled ocean plastic to build devices that people use every day, while also aiding the fight against plastic pollution.