Today, in celebration of World Oceans Day, Los Angeles-based start-up MerMade is officially launching its flagship product, a 65 gallon recycling cart made from 100% certified ocean plastic. Founded with the goal to help clean our oceans by showing the world how useful ocean plastic can be, MerMade’s recycling bins each contain 3.5 pounds of fully traceable ocean plastic sourced through fellow L.A. company, OceanWorks. Each cart has a 10-year warranty and is itself 100% recyclable.
The idea for MerMade was born in 2019 by ocean lovers Tessa Hayward, Matt Hartz, Matt Lanzdorf and Jesse Blatz, colleagues at LA-based advertising agency Team One. The four came together for the agency’s annual Launch An Idea program which invites teams to pitch an original idea that will solve a problem close to their hearts and benefit the larger community. The winning team receives a grant of $25,000 to bring their idea to life.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, only 9% of U.S. plastic is recycled and plastic production is expected to double over the next two decades. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these numbers as many rushed to purchase single-use plastic items in an effort to stop the spread of the diseases with U.S. cities seeing a 20% increase in municipal waste and recycling collection in 2020. MerMade saw how the rise in plastic debris was affecting the oceans and used its seed money to purchase 1000lbs. of certified ocean plastic from OceanWorks. Manufactured in L.A. by partner Rehrig, MerMade’s carts feature a signature teal lid that are easy to spot and a description on the side to highlight the can’s use of ocean plastic.
“An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters the marine environment every year – that’s roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the oceans every minute. The imperative is there, but most people aren’t clear on how they can make an impact, personally. We wanted to define a more direct call to action, thinking bigger than plastic straws,” said Tessa Hayward, MerMade Co-Founder. “We ended up uncovering a treasure trove of impact opportunities when we committed to spotlight the big and (seemingly) mundane plastic products that people interact with every day. Each one of our recycling carts is made with 3.5 pounds of plastic - that equals more than 3,000 straws. Our goal is a lofty one - to get millions of pounds of plastic out of the ocean - and possibly inspire other companies to reimagine their products using ocean plastic along the way.”
Over the last few months, the company started to distribute its bins locally across Southern California - relying on word of mouth and the bins unique design to drum up buzz and interest. So far, the bins have found homes with local businesses, individual residents and other conscious consumers like Parras Middle School, Redondo Surf Club, Spyder Surfboards and Val Surf.
MerMade is currently accepting applications for bin batches on its website. Single bins are currently available for individuals and local business owners who reside in select service areas in Southern California. Bulk batches are available for order and delivery across the United States and worldwide. Learn more at https://www.mermade.us/.