According to the World Economic Forum, between 75 and 199 million tons of plastic waste are floating in and polluting the world’s oceans. The 5 Gyres Institute reports that the volume of plastic entering the seas doubles every six years. There are genuine efforts to develop circular, sustainable packaging amid waves of greenwashing claims. Meet Vanessa Coleman, CEO of Oceanworks, which collects ocean plastics for recycling that it sells to companies committed to using post-consumer recycled, or PCR, plastics in new products and packaging. Oceanworks has developed a network of partners that collect and recycle plastics found on beaches and in waterways around the world, which the Oceanworks Guaranteed® label can identify — these programs’ environmental, social, and recycling practices are reviewed regularly. Oceanworks can provide end-to-end audits of its plastics supply chain to inform packaging designers about where the materials they choose are collected, processed, and remanufactured.

Vanessa Coleman, CEO of Oceanworks
Vanessa Coleman, CEO of Oceanworks, is our guest on Sustainability in Your Ear.

Oceanworks Guaranteed® certified recycled plastics are used in Glad to be Green products, Sperry Seacycled sneakers, Delta Faucets’ Ocean Plastic Shower Head, and many other products. While shoppers can browse these products at Oceanworks’ website, the real action happens in the company’s online materials catalog. It sells recycled PET (#1), HDPE (#2), and polypropylene (#5) plastics, as well as recycled yarns and fabrics, bottles, and zippers made from ocean plastics. Product designers and the teams responsible for packaging get access to a wide range of materials that contribute to a cleaner world as long as they continue to be recycled responsibly. We discuss the National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution, the potential for “advanced recycling” technologies that promise to make plastic as recyclable as metals, and the environmental and recycling impacts of plastics and the additives they contain.

You can learn more about Oceanworks at

Originally aired July 3, 2023

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.