Oceanize turns plastic waste from aquaculture and fisheries into recycled plastic granules. But the process does not stop there. “We ensure that our plastic granules end up as new products, usually for the same industry. This increases sustainability and promotes the circular economy,” says Tormod Steen, Communication & Project Manager at Oceanize.
“In Norway, the problem of marine plastic waste grabbed the public’s attention in 2017 when a dying whale beached on the southwestern coast. Turns out that the whale’s stomach was full of plastic rather than food,” Steen explains.
Despite increased recycling to prevent such harm, most plastic is still used only once. Norway has an overall circularity rate of 2.4 per cent compared to a global average of only 8.6 per cent. In other words, most plastic waste ends up in landfills, the ocean or waste-to-energy facilities, where it is incinerated.
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Oceanize collects, sorts and cleans industrial plastic waste and then recycles it into plastic granules. The granules undergo laboratory testing before being sent to manufacturers of plastic products.
Currently, Oceanize focuses on the aquaculture and fishery sector. “Much marine waste on Norwegian shores can be traced back to fish farms and fisheries. This includes deadly ‘ghost nets’ that kill marine life for years,” he explains.
Laboratory testing is a crucial step in the Oceanize process, ensuring that the plastic granules meet strict quality standards. “Plastic isn’t just plastic. It has different melt flows, density and moisture content. It must also be free of impurities,” he says.
“Each manufacturer has its own specifications. We work closely with all parties in the supply chain to meet their particular needs,” he adds.
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Oceanize creates a traceable supply chain, connecting all players in the chain and creating a closed loop. This replaces the linear “take-make-waste” economy with a circular model, helping the sector to meet its sustainability goals.
“As long as the plastic remains within industry, we are able to keep track of the plastic we handle, preventing it from ending up as waste again,” says Steen.
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Moreover, plastic recycling lowers greenhouse gas emissions by reducing incineration, waste transport and demand for virgin plastic. Marine ecosystems benefit as well from less plastic pollution and harmful microplastics in the oceans.
“We also see social benefits. Norway is able to export a sustainable product rather than ship plastic waste abroad for disposal, which is a common practice around the world,” explains Steen.
The EU’s aquaculture policy and directives on marine plastic waste require the sector to handle its plastic waste in sustainable ways. National governments are setting more stringent regulations as well.
“As demand for sustainability increases, so will our business. Most facility owners want to choose sustainable methods, but they need smart, cost-effective solutions,” says Steen.
In addition, the company is developing a digital tracking system for plastics and expanding the number of industries its serves, such a municipal waste. It also cooperates with organisations such as Ogoori on collection and recycling of ownerless ocean plastic.
Established in 2017, Oceanize is headquartered in Norway and has a branch in Poland. The company will soon expand into Iceland and Scotland.