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The company preventing plastics ending up in the ocean

Raffi Schieir told Andy Martin about how he sends $100,000 every day to developing countries to purchase bottles that have been collected from at-risk coastlines, and recycles them all

Friday 17 December 2021 15:16
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<p>100 per cent recycled bottles using Prevented Ocean Plastic </p>

100 per cent recycled bottles using Prevented Ocean Plastic

We had the Bronze Age and the Iron Age: now we have the Plastic Age. We are addicted to plastic. In fact, we are swimming in it. An awful lot of it – as you have almost certainly noticed – ends up in the ocean, jeopardising the lives of its inhabitants. But not if Raffi Schieir has his way. His brainwave, Prevented Ocean Plastic, is trying to stop the rot.

Schieir was born in Montreal, Canada, and studied at McGill University, where he played ice hockey and did improv. He joined the Royal Bank of Canada, but 10 years ago he came to London. “We wanted to bring our daughter to a forward-thinking, innovative mega-city,” he says, very diplomatically.

He set up Bantam Materials UK in November 2011, but his focus quickly became how to prevent plastic winding up in the ocean. Schieir wants everyone to understand one very important thing: “Actual plastic in the ocean cannot be recycled.” The salt water causes the chemical structure to break down, without, alas, ever eliminating plastic. So the only option at this stage of the game is a clean-up operation.

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