26 Preventing Plastic Pollution, Companies Upcycling Ocean-Bound Plastics & Supporting Informal Waste Workers in Developing Countries with NextWave’s Kendall Glauber

Apr 19, 2022 | Circular Economy, Environmental Health, Episodes, Reducing Plastics, Sustainability

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Kendall Glauber from Lonely Whale and the NextWave Plastics Consortium went from summers in Southern California to the non-profit world, keeping plastic waste from entering the ocean. In this episode, we learn how her efforts through Lonely Whale are helping to drive recycling systems change and how NextWave’s member companies are using ocean-bound plastics to create new goods. We discover the impact of ocean-bound plastics and explore how informal workers in developing countries are a critical part of the system, and why waste is being mismanaged. And learn how multinational corporations and small businesses can help prevent plastics from polluting our oceans and how the circular economy supports social change. 

If you want to learn more about Nextwave, the member companies and how they are making waves by choosing ocean-bound plastics visit www.nextwaveplastics.org. You can follow along with Nextwave on its mission to keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean on twitter at nxtwaveplastics. Want to support Lonelywhale as a business? 1% for the planet members, you can find them listed as a non-profit, and they are always looking for new brands to join Nextwave’s consortium. 

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About the Host


I'm Jennifer Myers Chua. The Host and Producer of the Cost Of Goods Sold podcast. I'm an entrepreneur, a creative, a cookbook fanatic, mother.  I have always been interested in hearing people's stories and I've been determined to change the world for as long as I can remember.

You'll find me at home in Toronto deconstructing recipes, listening to podcasts, enjoying time with friends or wandering alone through a big city.  I'm excited to have you here. Let's do better, together.


Episode Transcript

[00:02:22] Jennifer Myers Chua: Across the world, 20 million waste pickers, salvage, reusable, or recyclable materials, and are responsible for 60% of the world’s recycling. These people, considered informal workers are collecting ocean bound, plastics that would otherwise end up in the ocean. And this waste is considered mismanaged. There’s no formal waste management system in place in these developing countries. And for discarded plastic to be considered ocean bound, it’s found within 50 kilometers of the coast. Close enough to be washed into the ocean with the next storm.

And the unfortunate reality is that the ocean is already filled with plastic. It’s nearly impossible to collect and damaging. 8 million, tons of plastic is entering the ocean each year. The equivalent of one garbage truck, full of plastic being dumped in the ocean every minute. And the plastic pollution crisis has only accelerated and continues to intensify around the world. Today’s guest Kendell Glauber works at Lonely Whale. A nonprofit on a mission to keep plastic waste from entering the ocean. She’s the director of next wave plastics, a consortium of companies supported by Lonely Whale who are working to keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean. integrating recycled ocean bound plastic into their products and to help support other businesses in doing the same and drive systemic change

[00:03:43] Kendall Glauber: I was tracking the progress of NextWave from the beginning because I had a existing relationship with Dune Ives, the CEO of Lonely Whale, who has been a mentor of mine throughout my career. It was fairly serendipitous because my background professionally was In consulting, but primarily focused on sustainability. I have a masters of environmental management. And so I had done a lot of work around behavior change, particularly when it comes to sustainability, things like energy efficiency, climate change, and how people can move through the process of change to actually help to benefit the environment, change their behavior, things like that.

When I was growing up, I grew up in Southern California and spent every day of every summer at the beach. My summer camp was called junior guards and it was on the beach. And I was my happiest when I was swimming in the ocean. But it was in long beach, California, which is the port of long beach and the port of Los Angeles. Connected to each other. And also the Los Angeles river flows out right around that area. And so I was having the time of my life swimming in the waves, but also like couldn’t help but notice how much plastic there was in the ocean. Every summer, we would have red tides, which were algal blooms in the water.

There’d be dead birds or dead fish on the beach. So even from like a pretty early age, I had this really clear understanding of the connection between urban systems and the city that I lived in and the environment and, and the impacts to the environment, because I knew I’d been in other places where even maybe a few miles down the coast, I could see that the beaches were cleaner. I could see that, that they didn’t have the same issues with plastic pollution. It was less intense because it wasn’t as close to some of these like urban outlets. And so I understood that really, there was this large impact, but it wasn’t any one person fault. Like it wasn’t any one person who doing it.

It was a lot of people doing a lot of individually, potentially harmless things that then all kind of fed up into this broader systemic problem. That I think actually drove a lot of my curiosity throughout my career in terms of solving systemic problems and figuring out like how do we think about this, how do we come at this from a way where we can actually change what’s happening at a larger scale to meet these goals that help protect our environment as well, but that also don’t make it so that we can’t live our lives and have our businesses and make money from the things that we’ve invented and that people feel really passionate about. And I truly believe that there’s a balance there. And so I think that kind of bringing together those pieces really positions me well to someone that can help do something like convene a consortium that helps position these conversations.

And I think that what’s really great for them, the business people and the companies who are trying to figure out like, okay, how do I make this work from a business perspective is, being a part of something like a consortium or having, key advisors that are helping to guide the work that aren’t just your like investors or your peers in the business that have some more of a, especially if you are working into sustainability and environmental impact or any kind of impact social impact, all the things like there are incredible experts that are doing this work that have the scientific or Process understanding of what the ideal might be. And then you can understand as a business owner, how your business can then help support those goals, whether then explicitly working against them.

I have this opportunity and it could likely be a business differentiator, like my sustainability or my social responsibility, or, the way that I’m investing in new supply streams and innovative materials. This is something that can differentiate me as a business. And at this point, consumers are not putting up with any greenwashing. Like there is, they’re very invested in wanting to know the truth. And so having that transparency, having that knowledge like seeking out those inputs, is something that’s, that’s really interesting.

[00:08:28] Jennifer Myers Chua: When we go back to your junior guard days and you’re playing in the ocean. Do you remember any other moments where you became interested in sustainability? Is there anything that stands out in your mind of like this happened in your life and it led you on this path?

[00:08:43] Kendall Glauber: There’s definitely a few, I think. It’s everything from when I was in college, I was at an event and there was a booth from a local environmental group and they had these jars full of water with these things in them. And they looked just like jellyfish. Like it was, it was almost like a cartoon version of a jellyfish. And I was like, this is weird. And I talked to the people there and they were like, this is what happens when balloons get released and go up into the atmosphere and they expand and then pop and they. Part of it gets shredded, but it stays connected at the part where the knot is. And then when it ends up in the water and it’s bobbing, it looks just like sea life. And that broke my heart. And that I think was actually the moment that took me from the kid being like playing in the ocean, thinking about that, this stuff shouldn’t be here to, oh my gosh. There’s something that I need to do about this. so then I think that, that was a huge moment for me, in terms of just recognizing. How the unintended consequences of the things that we don’t think about and how something like a huge celebration that is, commemorated with a balloon release is something that’s actually really creating so much more harm than good.

And understanding that we’re all connected. I think for me, that was a big piece of it. Connection for me has been a big key value in my life in terms of my connection to my family and my friends and my community and the places where I’ve felt the happiest and most fulfilled have been the places where I’ve had that deep sense of connection and community.

And so I think that brings me back to the idea of How I was talking about systems, thinking like, that sounds like such a buzzword, but really it’s about like how we’re all connected. Like it’s all part of this broader system and everything’s impacting each other. And so like, how can we be more intentional about understanding the impacts that our systems are currently having and ways that we can continue to improve them? Through NextWave. I get the opportunity to do that by helping to continue to grow and deepen this community of brands that have a desire to do good, and help them figure out the way forward together and the way that they’re connected rather than trying to all scrape by and figure it out on their own.

Ocean bound, plastic is really the plastic that is most vulnerable to ending up in the ocean. As many of us know, there’s a bit of an issue with the plastic that we use on land, ending up in the environment, and then in the ocean affecting Marine ecosystems and Marine animals. That plastic is continuing to enter the ocean on a regular basis. In fact, there’s about 12 million metric, tons of plastic that are entering the ocean every single year, that is equivalent to about one and a half garbage trucks being dumped into the ocean every minute. All the time it’s just constantly happening and this is a huge problem.

And so there’s been this development of an industry around how do we stop the flow of this plastic into the ocean before it gets there by setting up systems that help to capture this plastic, in the places where it’s most vulnerable to being in the environment. that gets us to ocean bound plastic. So ocean plastic is defined based on some scientific research out of the university of Georgia. It’s defined as plastic that’s collected within 50 kilometers of a coastline, generally in areas with little or absolutely no waste management. So there’s no truck coming down the street to pick up their waste on a weekly basis. They don’t really have any other recourse. Like this is people in neighborhoods, maybe businesses, companies in places in the world where no one is coming to pick up the trash.

So next wave plastics is a consortium of multinational brands who are all invested in helping to change the trajectory on ocean plastic pollution by sourcing this material, demonstrating that it has commercial value and should be collected and recycled, and that they’re investing the time and energy into using that as new material in their products that they’re putting out on the market. And so our consortium includes a number of brands that you’re probably familiar with. It includes Dell technologies, HP Inc, Herman Miller, human scale, who are more in like interior design and office furniture, Ikea, interface that makes carpeting, Trek bicycles. As well as Shinola, a lifestyle goods company, variative, which makes a number of different packaging applications. CPI card group makes credit cards and soul guard is a startup that makes backpacks and travel goods and other lifestyle goods as well. So just even listening to that list, you can hear that it’s a whole array of different types of products, different industries. There’s really not a limit to what you can do with recycled plastic content, because you can put it into all the things that we make out of plastic.

And so the idea here is this commitment to come together as a consortium to share information so that no one of these companies has to figure this out on their own. They all recognize that this is an issue. They have the ability to help provide at least some level of a solution and so in doing that Each within their own product development, as well as then collaborating together to be successful in doing it, then they’re able to create much more impact and, and help to really turn off the tap on plastic pollution.

[00:15:11] Jennifer Myers Chua: And I mean, these are really household brands. Like I’m talking to you right now, sitting in a Herman Miller chair at an Ikea desk using a Dell monitor. It’s interesting that these brands would want to get involved in this. I’m wondering. How did they come together? What is the benefit for them of joining? why would these brands commit to this? Other than that shared knowledge?

[00:15:31] Kendall Glauber: Yeah, that’s a great question. The consortium itself was founded in 2017, but the conversations really started in 2016, between lonely whale and Dell technologies. And there was this idea that Dell really wanted to be using ocean bound, plastic as a material. Products and packaging. But that they could maybe have an impact on a few beaches and Indonesia. But that, that wasn’t necessarily going to reach the scale of the problem. And so there was this acknowledgement from the beginning that this wasn’t something that they could do on their own, that it was something that they need that other brands and other companies needed to join in on the fight.

But it isn’t easy. I mean, the whole reason that plastic in these areas is ending up in the environment and in the ocean is because the systems there are broken. We have a linear system that pumps just immense amounts of plastic packaging and goods to places all over the world. But there’s no real feasible way for it to get back and to be disposed of properly or reused. Ideally. And because of that broken system, it means that the systems aren’t necessarily set up to incentivize just turning the ship around and getting the plastic back to where it can be used again. So the idea of setting up Ocean bound plastic supply chains really takes an additional layer of investment and additional layer of knowledge around how to work with recycled material, particularly material that may have been exposed to the environment, maybe more degraded or dirty, maybe being collected and recycled at facilities that aren’t as advanced as some of the recycling facilities that are processing the stuff that comes out of our homes in the U S and Canada. There’s just more to it. And there’s fewer incentives that are just making this super cost-effective, really quick, easy to plug and play. But that doesn’t make it less worthwhile to do. In fact, I think it makes it more worthwhile to do, because it means that the products that these companies are then producing are not only just cool products.

They’re not only made with sustainable materials, but they’re also made with sustainable materials that are having incredible impact in places that are left behind by the existing, like systemic structures that exist across the globe. That is not the fault of the individual people in Indonesia. It’s this whole large system.

So basically the whole point then of joining and being a part of this larger group is really that these companies are breaking down barriers for each other in terms of recommending one of the biggest parts of this is that we’re, developing a network of a global network of ocean bound plastics suppliers. And so the idea there is that they’re being able to understand where there are. Recyclers and suppliers of material that actually have good potential to deliver a product that they can turn into something that’s useful. So a lot of it is understanding who’s out there. What’s the network who’s doing this work, where are the needs? As well as connecting to the experts, whether those are the scientific experts that are figure, understanding the problem. Or the implementation experts who understand how to go in on the ground and set up a system that is socially responsible, but also, you know, environmentally beneficial in, in places with limited waste management and more. There’s the financial side. There’s a lot of that. So a lot of it is bringing all the right people together into the space and breaking down those barriers to success with working with Ocean bound plastics. Now the consortium has been around for four years and these companies are in many cases, the leaders who have charted this course.

And so we’re now turning that around and working more to develop thought leadership and, helping to guide others in navigating this space as well. We’re adding that credibility and that knowledge and kind of paying it forward as well, in terms of NextWave and our member companies contributing to additional thought leadership that grows the pie in terms of the ability to actually continue to expand and scale this industry around ocean plastic recycling.

[00:20:02] Jennifer Myers Chua: So these member companies, is there a collective goal in terms of impact?

[00:20:07] Kendall: Absolutely. In 2018, we set out with our eyes on the prize of hitting 25,000 metric, tons of Ocean bound plastic from the ocean by the end of 2025, that is equivalent to 1.2 billion single use plastic water bottles. So Yeah the scale is big. We’re aiming for a large amount for these companies to actually use. In the grand scheme of things. It is a drop in the bucket, but the idea is really. Trying to be the catalyst for then these greater systems that can kind of be up and running and continue to grow and grow and grow from there.

[00:20:46] Jennifer Myers Chua: I just had a thought, which is outside of creating things with ocean bound plastics, the NextWave member companies, are they working in other ways to reduce their use of plastic? I’m just wondering if that’s in their consciousness as well.

[00:21:00] Kendall Glauber: It’s one thing to be replacing the plastic with recycled content, but it’s another thing to be thinking about how we reduce that overall impact together in the first place. So as part of signing up for membership, each of the member companies agrees to reduce their overall use of plastic by making an assessment. What their current footprint is and then ways to reduce that overall. And many of them have been doing this even before being next wave plastics members, or are continuing to deepen their commitment to that. We don’t have a specific goal that’s based on that, but helping the member companies share that information so that they can also learn from each other, similarly, in this same forum where they’re sharing information and learning from each other about ocean bound plastic. They’re also doing that about ways to reduce their plastic overall

one great example, Trek bike ran a pilot to reduce the amount of plastic that was in the packaging for their bicycles. That goes to a bicycle store where they’d assemble the bike and then you’d purchase the bike. But it has to get there first. And there’s a lot of components that need to be properly protected in order to get from their manufacturing site, their warehouse, and then to that store. And so, they did a really comprehensive look at how do we try and get rid of every single piece of plastic in this thing that we can. And I think that they were successful down to maybe a couples, zip ties, and they were even looking into some alternative solutions and, and they’ve even really heard from many of their partners in the actual stores saying that the amount of plastic that they’re throwing away has been reduced as a result of that. And so they ran the pilot with one bike model, but it was so successful that they’re expanding that across a number of their other, bicycle models as well.

These are like wonderful companies that are doing good work. And also the delay on bicycles during the pandemic with the supply chain challenges. It’s been very real. I think what’s really a Testament to the commitment of some of these companies, is that even with the level of challenges that they’re facing in their supply chains with the pandemic and, global shipping issues, in the cost of goods going up, is that they’ve continued to be committed to their ocean bound plastic sources, the relationships that they’ve developed with suppliers and the products that they’re putting out there. We’ve continued to grow, the amount of plastic that the member companies are diverting year over year. Basically doubling each year. And that hasn’t slowed down. It’s actually accelerated since, since the pandemic. So it’s really great to see the level of commitment coming from these number companies.

[00:23:58] Jennifer Myers Chua: Do you have any other insight into the ways that we either humans or industry or small business? Just, we collectively use plastics? and how it. Existing use of plastics, maybe less than ideal.

[00:24:12] Kendall Glauber: The biggest thing is it’s not that plastic itself is bad. It’s an inert material or it’s a material out there that, serves a purpose. And so there’s many places where absolutely it makes sense to have plastic. It helps us create a lot of things that we maybe wouldn’t have invented. Otherwise it helps us ship a number of things. Further, the safer, lighter. And so there’s a lot of reasons that it makes sense to, to have plastic, to continue to use plastic. It’s more about why we’re using it. And then really what the plan is at the end of the day for what to do with it. And the biggest problem there is single use plastic hands down, across the globe. That is a problem is the single use plastic that is used once and then it never degrades. It doesn’t go away. And so, it ends up, even if it’s in a landfill, it’s taking up a ton of space in a landfill for the fact that someone was using it for a moment. And so the biggest issue. It’s really then how do we reduce the plastic that isn’t helpful.

That is more detrimental than it is useful. And like remove that from the economy in many ways, and then be able to really focus on how to be using plastic in a way that is more responsible. So. plastic packaging or reducing the use of things like the stuff you hear, people harping on all the time, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic utensils. For example, utensils can’t be recycled. They can’t be properly captured in a municipal recycling facility and recycled into something new, uh, Exist forever and they’re just trash. And so it’s rethinking those things and how can we be creating alternatives? And then revisiting the need for single use plastic. In the meantime, it’s also about creating more robust systems for capturing and recycling the plastic. That is out there and designing products to be recyclable so that they can be captured, they can be recycled. And they then can actually be part of a more holistic system that keeps the phrase that we use all the time at next wave keeps that plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.

[00:26:52] Jennifer Myers Chua: So it should the onus beyond the brands then, or the governments that are developing these recycling systems. What do you think about that?

[00:27:00] Kendall Glauber: Absolutely. I think that the onus should definitely be on brands in many cases, that there should be a deeper level of accountability around the plastic that is being sent out, what it looks like, whether it’s recyclable and then what happens to it. It’s at its end of life.

There are many policies across the globe. We’re kind of doing the hashing out what this will look like around extended producer responsibility and having it be that the brands are more responsible for that material that they’re putting out there. But that can’t be the only thing. It’s easy to point the fingers at the big mean corporations and say, you fix the problem. There needs to be more of the system. So absolutely the governments need to be engaged in terms of creating good policy around plastic and good systems and, everything from the municipal level up to the, federal government and then consumers need to be engaged as well and take responsibility for their trash. Understand how to dispose of what they do have or return it to wherever it needs to go to get into the proper return stream at some point. So there is a role to play. I think that historically that’s been pointed towards consumers and we need to shift this to a more brand government centric and then holistic system.

So that. It’s something where everyone’s bearing some responsibility for making sure that this happens. And the thing that’s most promising about that is that the UN just released a mandate for creating a treaty on plastic and how we treat plastics as a global economy. And so I think there’s a lot of promise there in that mandate in terms of really driving for how we look at plastics and its full life cycle, not just what happens at the end of its life, once it’s been used, but really from design through use and into reuse. There’s going to be a lot of changes over the next few years in terms of how. I handled that as a like globe, and also at the state level. So lots of that? is coming so positive developments there.

[00:29:20] Jennifer Myers Chua: And someone with a design background, I am just completely enamored with these innovative ways that some of these companies are using ocean bound plastics. Anytime I see this, I just, I love to see what they’re creating. Do you have any examples that you can share from maybe businesses with the next wave, maybe without the have like use cases for products they’re creating with these plastics.

[00:29:45] Kendall Glauber: The member companies have been working on their products for anywhere from two to six or seven years at this point. More than 330 products on the market that are made with ocean bound plastic, just from these 12 companies. And so many of the products that I think are some really great examples are from HP. They really invested in this inspiring collection and recycling operation in Haiti where there is almost no waste management systems and really started. Integrating recycled bottles into ink cartridges, which is a core part of their business. It’s not like something that’s off on the side. That was like a one-off thing. They really went and integrated this into something that is a core element of their business. But they’ve really taken that commitment deeper and are innovating with this material to ensure that it can perform in a technology application.

And they’ve been able to integrate ocean bound plastic, into components that are in a huge number of their laptops, their monitors and other technology as well. So I think that that’s a really great example. I think some of the iconic ones, even that you mentioned earlier, you said you’re sitting in a Herman Miller chair, Herman Miller, just in 2021, they launched a suite of products that are made with ocean bound plastic, most iconically the Aeron chair just last year they launched these chairs and they’re in the process of rolling them out and soon all Aeron chairs will be released with Ocean bound plastic as the standard, this iconic piece within their product line. They were really looking at how do we really make an impact in something that, will make a difference. And that will really help tell this story to our customers as well.

One other thing that we haven’t talked about but that I think is really interesting is that fishing nets are also a big component of this conversation. So a lot of the plastic that we think about is the single use plastic, the water bottles, the baggies. But fishing nets are the most dangerous. type of Marine plastic pollution. And so a number of our member companies have been working with reclaimed fishing, net material in their products as well. Human scale really stands out in terms of that. They were actually the first to launch an office chair made with ocean bound plastic, they have two chairs currently, and are working to develop more products made with recycled fishing nets. And the idea is that there’s about two pounds of recycled fishing nets in each of these chairs, but these chairs are designed to last for 50 years. It’s trash. This was like going in the ocean and now it’s locked up in this chair will be around for the next 50 years at least. And so the idea really is there’s lots of different ways to go about this. There’s lots of ways to get this into packaging and other things, but what NextWave member companies have really been able to demonstrate is that it can also go into these really premium products. Whether it’s a Shinola watch or Solgaard backpack, or interface, carpeting, there’s all these places that it can go that are really designed to be these iconic products that you have around you in your life and that you live with that are making the most of, what, otherwise just would have been pollution.

[00:33:26] Jennifer Myers Chua: In terms of social impacts, like how are these communities all around the world that are, ocean front communities, how are they getting involved? And what you’re doing with NextWave… how is this impacting them?

[00:33:39] Kendall Glauber: That is a huge component of the work that we do working in the environmental space and in climate change. I think one of the things that I’ve really realized is that. That a lot of this stuff is really about people. And I think that the social component of this cannot be extricated from the environmental component. The people who are living in communities, where they don’t have waste management or oftentimes living in trash. And so what’s great about these, this work is that. In many cases. The ocean bound plastic supply chains are relying on networks of informal workers who are going out collecting plastic that’s recyclable. And selling that material to an aggregator or a recycler who we’ll sell that material on, into an ocean bound plastic supply stream, but they’re relying on that income of collecting plastic for their livelihood. What’s incredible is that waste pickers across the globe in 2016, it was estimated that they were responsible for 60% of global recycling. So at a global scale, this is our most successful recycling system. These people that are living in poverty. Oftentimes they’re part of marginalized groups, but are carrying our recycling system on their back and are the heroes of protecting the ocean from plastic. So one of the things that we focus on at NextWave is really making sure that as ocean bound plastic supply chains are being developed, the social component is absolutely central to the work that is being done. And that we’re ensuring that those workers are receiving fair pay, that they are also receiving benefits like health benefits and other support systems that can help them have better livelihoods, be able to educate their children. All of that, have it be so that their children can go and be in school and don’t have to work.

 I think some standout examples are HPS work with their partners first mile and work in Haiti where they’ve provided work over a thousand workers with jobs and have really helped to create a support system in Haiti for these workers. That then has transcended even things like the earthquake that happened there recently, they were able to help provide resources directly to many of the workers in their system to actually ensure that they were able to get whatever support they could provide. Dell technologies is doing incredible work in Indonesia and supporting communities there. And all of this within NextWave coming together to compare notes on what has been successful, what the needs are and how to ensure that social responsibility goes beyond just the factory level and down into those networks of informal workers.

One of the things that we did as a consortium was created a working group specifically on this issue. And what came out of that was a framework for what a socially responsible ocean bound plastics, supply chain looks like and it really runs through how to understand what the issues in a supply chain and then really how to lay the groundwork and the foundation for supporting a more socially responsible program and system, so that we’re really helping to articulate what are the actual challenges that are out there. And then how do you do it in a way that doesn’t just replace the systems that exist? It doesn’t just come in and say, okay, we’re going to set up our, what a, whatever a Western waste management system looks like, but really works to center the workers that are there doing this work already. And helping to improve their lives, helping to improve the systems, helping to bring more resources so that they can do that better. And that that’s can be beneficial to those that workforce and to those communities in these areas.

[00:37:53] Jennifer Myers Chua: And if you own a business and you want to create impact. Are there opportunities for businesses outside of the NextWave members to become members or interact with you in some way or benefit from your learnings even.

[00:38:07] Kendall Glauber: Absolutely. So we are constantly walking, welcoming new members to come and join this work. Any company who is interested in sourcing Ocean bound plastic. Getting it into products. Whether you are interested in trying to figure it out, and don’t really know where to get started or maybe. There may be some who are further down the line and have already been testing material or developed products, but want to be a part of a group that can help to continue to scale what they’re doing or maybe you’ve come up across specific roadblock that you need to work through, and it might be helpful to have some folks who can help you kind of sort through the challenges that you might be facing to figure out a way through, to be successful with using this material. That’s what we’re here for. We’re looking to grow and to scale this and to expand the impact that we’re able to have to get. And I would say though, that there are a number of resources that are coming out of NextWave. If you maybe aren’t ready to make the leap for membership. things like the framework for social responsibility are really useful tools for navigating some of the ambiguity of this space.

One thing that we have coming out this year is a series of case studies that we’re calling our changemaker series and that’s going to come out in april and may and June of this year, it’ll be a running series with one coming out every week. That’ll focus on a particular topic where NextWave member companies have had key learnings or found particular success or work through a particular challenge. And so just keeping an eye out for those and, taking a look at what information might be most useful for you there? I’m always happy to talk to companies who are trying to figure out how, how do we have better impact is Ocean bound plastic, the right thing for us. And if it is where do we go next? And I’d love to help on that.

[00:40:14] Jennifer Myers Chua: So if I’m a small business owner and I’m creating a product you think there’s an opportunity for me to access ocean bound plastic waste, or would this be an option as this community grows? Like what can a small business owner do in terms of creating this impact in this way?

[00:40:31] Kendall Glauber: Yeah, it’s a great question. And there’s a lot of really incredible small companies that I’ve talked to, who really are invested in being able to do that. I think the biggest challenge is that there is a issue of scale and needing to have a certain level of scale that you’re operating at for it. Then to make economic sense to. Be able to buy the material. And also there’s the challenge sometimes of finding manufacturers who can make a product that you might want to make for your business, that know how to work with ocean bound plastic, or have that in their wheelhouse. There are definitely some that can work at that smaller scale. But I think that it’s going to be the best fit for kind of small to mid-sized businesses who are able to start with kind of a larger investment or that have existing products and are already operating at scale and then want to integrate ocean bound plastic into some existing product lines.

 If you’re really starting from something new it can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. It really is about finding the right partners. And so I think that in terms of finding the right suppliers out there who might be able to connect you up and provide the right information. There’s some that I would maybe point you in the direction of, and I’m happy to be a resource for anyone who’s interested in that. As well as really just seeking out information from others in the space who have done this, finding out who they’re working with and then piecing it together from there. The one thing I would say is. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes or potentially getting push back. As I said, this is about creating a system where systems don’t exist. So it isn’t as plug and play as it might be nice to have it be. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible and that it doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile. Keep seeking information, seeking champions who do know this space and continuing to push forward to try and see what you can do.

After your work with ocean experts and Lonely Whale. And now all of these heads of businesses that are working with plastics. I can only imagine that you have a lot of insight into how we as a society are changing how we interact with plastics. I’m just wondering if this has made you more hopeful for our future.

A thousand percent. So much more hopeful for what we can create. I am also scared. I will say that there’s a lot of things that can, and absolutely will go wrong in terms of creating a more sustainable future, where we use materials and natural resources more wisely. Where we treat our natural systems with respect and dignity, and. I can see it. And I think what’s sometimes really difficult is knowing maybe an end destination that feels like this utopia and looking at where we are now, which is that plastic producing is, is plastic. Production is increasing and plastic pollution is increasing and all of that. It’s those data day shifts the little incremental, tiny things that people are doing every day, um, that are moving us more towards that utopian future. And that’s a lot of what we work towards at lonely whale as a organization. But really what I see come to life through NextWave is , I’m not talking to Dell technologies. Like I’m talking to this specific individual who is instigating change in this organization and helping to figure out ways to really articulate why it makes sense for a huge company like Dell to invest in this project to help communities in Indonesia who have too much plastic waste. And the fact that they’ve been able to go from this nugget of an idea to launching products out in the world, that they’re able to tell this story to their customers. is an upswell.

That’s something that’s growing and that can continue to grow. And so I think that in walking through that, like sometimes slow, excruciating process of change. That doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. I see that it’s going somewhere and I can understand that, like that is how change happens. It doesn’t happen in like this huge. Sweeping change. It may happen sometimes in leaps and bounds, but a lot of it is about that, like that preparation work and the individuals who are committed to not being afraid to be like, I see this opportunity. Let’s go get it.

[00:45:40] Jennifer Myers Chua: If you want to learn more about NextWave, the member companies and how they’re making waves by choosing ocean bound plastics, visit https://www.nextwaveplastics.org/. You can follow along with NextWave on their mission to keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean on Twitter at next waves, plastics without the first E. Want to support lonely whale as a business. 1% for the planet members, you can find them listed as a nonprofit, and they’re always looking for new brands to join NextWave’s consortium.

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