US (UT): startup partners with flower growers to remove plastic from the ocean

Plastic recycling startup Repurpose Recycling is now collaborating with Sami Sacha Flowers in their largest partnership to date. Repurpose Recycling, founded by Brigham-Young University graduate Jeremy Porter, pays people to collect plastic products from bodies of water and works with companies to offset their plastic waste.

Porter said Repurpose Recycling aims not only to remove plastic from the oceans but to provide steady jobs and opportunities to those experiencing poverty in developing nations. After serving a mission in Guatemala and participating in a humanitarian mission to Fiji, Porter said he was interested in ways he could give back to those communities, thus creating Repurpose Recycling during his years at BYU.

Repurpose Recycling has removed over 131,000 pounds of ocean-bound plastic from the environment and hopes to remove 1 million pounds by the end of 2023. Sami Sacha Flowers is a co-op of flower farms located in Ecuador. Noam Temkin, one of its founders, said the company partnered with Repurpose Recycling because they wanted to offset the necessary use of plastic in their products.

“We need plastic in so many different things,” he said. “Not just in food packaging, but in medical goods.” Temkin said Sami Sacha Flowers needs to use plastic sleeves to keep flowers together during transportation. Because they cannot cut down on plastic use within their business, Temkin said Sami Sacha Flowers chose to work with Repurpose Recycling to achieve net negative plastic use.

Temkin said removing plastic from oceans and rivers and doing something good with it after is gratifying. “That’s where the beauty of it is,” Temkin said.

Upcycled plastic can be compressed and made into products such as building blocks for homes, Temkin said.

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