KEEPERS OF THE NORTH
"FROM A CRUISE SHIP TWO MILES OFF SHORE, ALASKA'S SHORELINE LOOKS PRISTINE BUT IT'S NOT. IT'S A HELLUVA MESS UP HERE AND PEOPLE NEED TO REALIZE THAT"
A Trash-Free Future for Alaska
Plastic waste from around the world has been washing up on Alaskan shores and, for decades, littering the once pristine state. With no state recycling programs in place, this poses a massive environmental problem. Luckily, Pyxera and Chris Pallister, with Gulf of Alaska Keeper (GoAK), have rallied a unique team of collaborators to find a solution.
It Takes a Village
In response to Alaska’s lack of a central recycling program, Gulf of Alaska Keeper (GoAK) worked with Pyxera Global to pull together an all-star project team; The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Center for Regenerative Design & Collaboration (CDRC), Dow, and FedEx. Together they worked to develop a sustainable solution to turn ocean trash into a usable product.
To see if their idea would work, litter collected by GoAK was shipped to a CRDC facility in Pennsylvania for further exploration. CRDC developed a new technology to reuse historically hard-to-break-down ocean plastics. The material created from this process can be turned in to a better, durable product for bricks, concrete, and other important structural building substances.
Due to the success of this experiment, CRDC is now working with Alaska to open a facility that will create this circular economy locally.
Gulf of Alaska
The Gulf of Alaska is an extension of the North Pacific Ocean as it flows along the southern shores of the state of Alaska, the northernmost part of the United States. The gulf extends from Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula in the west to the Alexander Archipelago in the east. (source)
It is home to a beautiful subarctic ecosystem, including including five species of salmon, halibut, Pacific cod, sablefish, mackerel, Alaska pollock and rockfish, along with crustacean species like shrimp, king crab, and tanner crab.
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) is a global non-profit organization with the mission to end plastic waste in the environment, through implementing and investing in innovative solutions to develop or enhance waste management systems. Since 2019, the Alliance has convened a global network of industry leaders across the plastics value chain, together with government, civil society, entrepreneurs, and communities to work towards advancing a circular economy for plastic waste.
Consistent with Dow’s vision for turning the tide on plastic waste, Dow helped connect these like-minded collaborators. As founding member of Rivers are Life, Dow supports projects like this one – to help pilot and scale local solutions to keep plastics out of the environment.
The Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration’s (CRDC) mission is to create appreciating value from the world’s plastic waste. Their unique process converts hard-to-recycle plastic into RESIN8, an Eco-Aggregate that improves concrete. Partnering with CRDC helps GoAK create a sustainable solution for plastic waste found on Alaska’s shoreline.
FedEx delivers millions of packages a day all over the world. As a part of the company’s FedEx Cares “Delivering For Good” initiative, FedEx shipped all litter collected by GoAK to the CRDC facility in York, PA, free of charge. Using their emissions reporting tool, FedEx Sustainability Insights, they provided CRDC the data needed to purchase five tons of CO2 offsets.
GoAK has developed cleanup techniques that make it the most efficient remote coastal marine debris cleanup organization in the world. Their involvement in this project has helped pioneer a circular solution for waste on Alaska’s coast line.
Pyxera is working toward a world where communities thrive by creating and sustaining inclusive, equitable, and regenerative systems.
CRDC USA (Center for Regenerative Design & Collaboration) purchased carbon offsets from ACT Commodities, removing 5 tons of carbon resulting from shipping the plastic collected from the beaches in Alaska to the CRDC USA processing facility in York, Pennsylvania. Carbon offsets for this project/film are part of a larger strategy by Rivers are Life and this project’s collaborators to reduce emissions.
This project represents one example of how CRDC Global is partnering to collect, move and process plastic waste from challenging areas, including areas in Alaska, through new pilot projects – in order to scale-up the CRDC’s operations in more locations to reduce the travel of waste.
5 TONS OF CARBON OFFSET
CRDC purchased carbon offsets from ACT Commodities to reduce emissions created during the transport of plastic waste.
3 M+ POUNDS OF TRASH
GoAK manages the longest running marine debris clean up project in the world.
"Keepers of the North" is the first of many projects Rivers are Life aims to support, as part of our commitment to the protection of our precious river ecosystems across the world.