Awareness of how polluted our oceans have become, of ways and products to decrease the use of single-use plastics, and innovative companies that are cleaning up the oceans with new methods, equipment and purpose, all contribute to solving a serious and complex problem. The question is: is the ecological disaster of ocean pollution already insurmountable?

We remain far from cleaning up our oceans. The decline of marine life has led to predictions of the end of the commercial fishing industry within a decade or so. At the rate we’re going, ocean pollutant plastics will exceed the amount of marine life. And there isn’t a beach in the world without microplastics.

But there are solutions, one of which has recently risen to the fore by the announcement of leading sportswear manufacturer Adidas’s introduction of a line of shoes and apparel made from recycled ocean plastic.

The collection came about via Parley for the Oceans, a think tank of creativity and science. As Parley says on its website: “We believe the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer – given we all have a choice – and the power to shape this new consumer mindset lies in the hands of the creative industries.”

Among those creatives are artists, musicians, filmmakers, architects, actors, fashion designers and scientists whom Parley’s founder Cyrill Gutsch puts on a par with creatives.

German-based Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest in the world, lending high-profile exposure to Adidas x Parley, the official collaboration that turned plastic ocean trash into athletic wear through the Parley AIR program. AIR stands for Avoid, Intercept and Redesign, a three-pronged approach to using less plastic, reducing the amount in the ocean, and reusing plastic waste.

In the case of Adidas x Parley, plastic ocean waste goes through a number of processes, ultimately producing pellets that are melted into filament. The filament was then used by Adidas to manufacture a line of athletic wear from high-performance shoes to yoga wear.

Not to make light of ocean pollution by plastics, what comes to mind with this extraordinary innovation is the 42ndof the top 100 movie quotations according to the American Film Institute.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

It seems there is a future in plastics after all but one entirely different from the vision of the 1967 film “The Graduate”. Just ask Adidas which, by the latest count, is manufacturing 11 million of their new, plastic fiber athletic shoes.

To learn more about Parley for the Oceans, log on here:

To learn more about the Adidas x Parley collaboration as well as see and shop the collection, log on here:

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Published by
Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

You’ve seen the pictures. The stork wrapped and trapped in plastic. The tortoise with a stomach full of plastic pieces. The little seahorse swimming along with a Q-tip as his mate. The beached whale dead from eating plastic bags, plastic cups, flip flops and tangled string.

All the photos are sad and shocking. But the whale was in Indonesia and the turtle in Thailand. And what does it have to do with you?

If you’re willing to dive into a brilliant, in-depth article in the February 4th issue of The New Yorker, you’ll find your answer. The article focuses on a 22-year-old entrepreneur who is also a visionary, puzzle solver and environmentalist. His organization is called Ocean CleanUp which we’ve written about on Linked In and in our company blog.

Here’s a taste of the article’s contents… “…numerous studies have shown that microplastic is everywhere—in the melting ice of the Arctic, in table salt, in beer, in shrimp scampi. A study last year found traces of it in eighty-three per cent of tap-water samples around the world. (The incidence was highest in the United States, at ninety-four percent.)”

From the online journal PLOS One: “…more than 5.2 trillion particles of plastic were swirling in the planet’s oceans, and, in time, much of it would be ingested by ocean dwellers and by creatures that eat fish, including people.”

Microplastics are also on every beach in the world, including the one in front of the $20,000 a month Hamptons beach house you’re thinking about renting this summer.

Read all about it here:

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Do you glaze over during scientific explanations? Feel sleepy when steeped in statistics? Find data to be deadening? Many of us do. Which is why more than 300 artists worldwide are donating their time and talent to illustrate how we can save our oceans by painting marine life murals – so far over 300 – across the globe. The murals take difficult-to-convey scientific information and turn it into artwork.

ARTivism is the brainchild of the not-for-profit PangeaSeed Foundation which calls it a marriage between art and activism. Their goal is, through creating original art that is both compelling and educational, to help people understand how they are hurting our oceans and encourage involvement.
The murals are done on underused, otherwise dull buildings and surfaces that are turned into focal points of thought-provoking art to open the way toward understanding the importance of ocean and marine life health. Not surprisingly, the art serves to transcend language, cultural and educational barriers.

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words. The hope of the ARTivism project is that an artwork will be worth the saving of our oceans and marine life.

If you’re interested in learning more, log onto or look at the video here:

If you’d like to do even more, sponsor a mural as an Anglerfish, Swordfish or Great White Shark. Further information is on the Pangea website.

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Caratoes Portrait by Nate Peracciny (Pangeaseed foundation)

Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

Can you even imagine 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic? 80,000 tons of it plus fishing line and other assorted trash? In a watery scrapheap twice the size of Texas?

It’s the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between Hawaii and California that has long been a cause of great environmental concern for the ongoing viability of marine life.

Now, a not-for-profit company named The Ocean Cleanup, founded by its CEO, 23-year-old Boyan Slat of The Netherlands, will soon launch its technology into the Pacific with the goal of reducing the patch by 50% within five years.

The technology was extensively tested using a 200-foot long pipe with a hanging skirt that drifts with the tide. Solar-powered, it is self-directed and finds optimum pick-up sites using an algorithm.
According to The Ocean Cleanup, “On September 8th, 2018, the 600 meter long Array 001 (note: 600 meters is just shy of 2,000 feet) will make its way out from Alameda, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and out into the Pacific ocean.”

As there never seems to be a solution without critics, many conservationists prefer effort to be expended in reducing ocean waste rather than cleaning it up. Others have expressed concern that it will entrap marine life.

The Ocean Cleanup responds by saying the pipe and its skirt are passive, moving very slowly with the tide, allowing plenty of time for marine life to escape under its skirt. They are in agreement that their goal of ridding earth’s oceans of plastics by 2050 will require a joint effort of both clean up as well as source reduction.

You can see the technology for yourself in the video or by logging onto

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PHOTO: Ocean Cleanup

Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

The shampoo bar may well be the eco-friendliest solution to what is estimated to be 552 million plastic shampoo bottles we throw out annually. One naked bar provides about 80 washes – the equivalent of three medium-size bottles.

With plastic packaging so predominant in the cosmetics and beauty industry, naked alternatives to plastic packaging like a shampoo bar can go a long way to reducing litter on beaches (80% of which is plastic) as well as eliminating additions to the 300,000 tons of plastic debris in our oceans.

Think about it. No plastic bottle in your bathroom or shower. No potentially leaking plastic bottle in your suitcase. No plastic bottle in your trash or recycling. Insofar as does it work, we’ve heard it does wonders for your hair. How it that possible? Easy. These bars are basically shampoo without the water and there is a big assortment of fragrances, types, shapes and colors from which to choose.

Google shampoo bar to find the right one for you. We found a lot of choices from J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo (they even a tea tree and hemp oil formula) to Shea with Coconut & Hibiscus and artisan-made bars at Etsy with names like Strawberries & Cream, Rose Spice and Cabana Boy.

See the short video here:

Shampoo Bars

These shampoo bars could replace the 552 million shampoo bottles we throw out annually.

Posted by ATTN: on Saturday, June 9, 2018

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

It’s low cost, easy to do and fun to create new items from your at-home plastics recycling center. Is it pretty? Uh, no. Is it kind of terrific? Uh, yup.

Created by Dave Hakkens, “Precious Plastic” has four machines with different functions. You can build them yourself – there are tutorials – and they’re easy to put together.

Amaze your family, friends and neighbors with new items made from your own plastic water, detergent, shampoo bottles and more.

All right, maybe they won’t be amazed, but you get five stars for making this simple, easy, low-cost green choice.

Easy-to-build machines let you recycle plastic right in your home

These machines help recycle plastic and keep it out of landfills.

Posted by In The Know Innovation on Friday, April 27, 2018

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

The subject of ocean pollution and the damage it does to the ecosystem requires a book. A very large, dense book. At present, it’s a disturbing read.

Every year, 1.4 billion pounds of trash enters the ocean. It consists of run-off pesticides, herbicides, detergents, oils, chemical fertilizers and untreated sewage. The latter is primarily plastic which erodes into micro-plastics and can be found on most of the world’s beaches including the one in front of the $20,000 a month house you just rented in the Hamptons.

According to the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce), 80% of marine pollution comes from the land and includes anything purposely discarded or that flows into the ocean from sources like roads, farmland, industrial facilities, residential and commercial buildings through run-off.

New York City suffers from such a problem. During high rain and snowstorms, sewers become flooded by runoff. They, in turn, overcome the capacity of treatment plants, adding untreated waste water to storm water, with that overflow depositing pollutants directly into our waterways.

We’ve been a huge proponent of green roofs in the city, whether they are simply covered in native grasses, decorative or worked as urban farms, because they absorb storm water that would otherwise flood the streets and sewers.

The Atlantic Ocean (north and south) has a garbage patch with a density of 200,000 pieces of marine debris per square kilometer. Estimates are that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific contains 18 trillion pieces of plastic and 80,000 tons of garbage. 99% of it is plastic.

It doesn’t look like 18 trillion single use plastic bags and soft drink bottles because the plastic has been reduced to microscopic, suspended particles. But it’s there and doing extreme damage:

* An abundance of pollution creates ocean dead zones where marine life cannot survive. There are currently approximately 500 ocean dead zones.

* Because birds and sea mammals mistake plastic for food or unavoidably eat microscopic marine debris, according to UNESCO, “plastic debris causes the death of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. “

* Because debris requires oxygen to decompose, the levels of oxygen in the ocean declines, affecting marine animals ranging from sharks to turtles and penguins.

* Because pollution affects the food chain, humans who eat fish and other marine life can be exposed to health problems that include cancer and birth defects. (All those feel good/eat good/be healthy websites that promote fish protein either don’t know, or don’t tell you, that there’s a down side.)

We’ve written this before, but it’s worth writing again:

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Inspirational speaker and one of the world’s greatest explorers, Robert Swan

Thus, Part Two of this series will explore the many organizations that are fighting pollution and the innovative ways they’re doing it.

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Steven_J._SchleiderBy Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD + C President, Metropolitan Valuation Services