What is your name and job title at Oceanworks?
Rob Ianelli. Founder & President
Give us a brief overview of what Oceanworks is doing to be a sustainable company.
From the onset, Oceanworks has been focused on creating access to hard to reach materials like recycled ocean plastics. We identified the growing demand for recycled plastics and saw the opportunity to build a digital and global infrastructure linking together supply and demand in a new and innovative way. Our byproduct is in many ways what makes Oceanworks sustainable. We keep plastic from going into the ocean or the environment and uniquely transact and distribute thousands of metric tons of material around the world. Making it easier and faster for brands like Electra to engage with recycled ocean plastics is just one of the many ways we strive to be a sustainable company and help bring choices and awareness to consumers hand in hand.
Why does making sustainable business decisions matter to you and Oceanworks?
We are entering an era of finite resources and certainly finite patience. Plastic pollution has been around for literally decades, yet only recently has it reached a tipping point both from consumers and industry. Rather than waiting for the other shoe to drop, we knew something had to be done. A big part of my ethos in life and in business is to create action. You can’t stay up against the ropes. You need to start swinging and by doing so you not only create opportunities, but also inspire others to see actions are louder than words. Creating impact is a very large responsibility, but inspiring action is what we’re all about.
At what point in your life did you become committed to saving the planet?
I spent the majority of my life somehow or way very close to the sea. Growing up, my family summered on Martha’s Vineyard and it’s always been a safe haven for getting outdoors and really enjoying pristine waters and miles upon miles of undeveloped coastlines. In 2015, I became more aware about the plastic pollution in the ocean and the scale to which it was starting to be quantified. At that same time, my favorite beach on Martha’s Vineyard, Norton Point started to show signs of single use plastics washing up. Once I connected the dots, it inspired me to create a line of ocean plastic eyewear, under the moniker – Norton Point. The rest is history : )
What does living sustainably mean to you?
Doing more with less. This isn’t a wildly new phenomenon. My grandparents on both sides were immigrants and came to the U.S. with nothing. My father told me stories of his grandmother taking paper towels and hanging them to dry. She would also use the wax paper lining of cereal boxes to wrap sandwiches. This may be tied to an era of less, but now living in a world where we generally have more than ever, living sustainably is about taking into account where we have all come from, and what we can do without. It’s been done before and perhaps it’s already kicking into gear to be done again. The planet and ocean will thank us, let alone our children’s children.
What is one sustainable lifestyle habit that you practice in your day-to-day life you think everyone else can do too?
For the caffeine fiends, make coffee at home. Not only are you saving thousands of dollars, you’re also eliminating habitual rituals that just simply produce waste. That may be hard for the diehards who love the takeaway cup and go lifestyle, but coffee at home is something easy and simple to discover you may very well like. Aside from that, if you live in a community like I do that has miles upon miles of dedicated bike paths, use them! Riding a bicycle not only is thrilling, but it connects you with your environment in really incredible ways. Investing in a “Plasket” will undoubtedly help justify those rides to the market or hey let’s be honest, beer store 🙂
What’s your favorite wild animal that you’d love to see survive and thrive on a green planet?
The Bengal Tiger is one of my all-time wild animals. I would be thrilled to see the tiger make a sizable comeback in our green planet future!