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From Beach Waste to Designer Furniture

Updated: May 18, 2023

First published in Havbyen Bergen in Norwegian.

Photo: Vanesa Sánchez Garcia is a volunteer for In The Same Boat (ITSB), a beach cleanup organisation. The picture is from an island Fedje, where she was part of a cleanup action where Ogoori and ITSB collaborated in 2020.

Ogoori turns beach cleaning into business. The plastic they remove from islets and beaches turns into gorgeous, recycled design furniture.

"The world has a limited amount of resources, such as iron, steel and oil. The linear economy consumes the resources at a great pace," says Rune Gaasø, beach cleaning enthusiast and Chairman of Ogoori.

Ogoori was started in Bergen in 2019, based on the project, 'From Beach to Boardroom.' Lars Urheim, Jan Christian Vestre and Rune Gaasø began talking about how they could create a business in cleaning up the ocean, such that the removing the plastic will run by itself.

"We started looking at the worst plastic fractions, which are the beach waste that has been lying around and being decomposed for a long time. Could we make a raw material from this that someone wanted? After a research pilot, we started with the urban furniture manufacturer Vestre," says Gaasø.

Ogoori provides environmental testing of the plastic, then the plastic is recycled into a raw material in granular form with different qualities. The plastic granulate is then rented out to customers who want to use plastic in their projects, such as the benches from Vestre that can be put in parks, urban spaces and at festivals.

The rental model for plastic granules is quite unique.

"Customers can rent the plastic for two years or for a hundred years," Gaasø says."The point of a rental model is that the customer should know that we should have it back. This means that they must take responsibility for the plastic so that it does not end up as ocean plastic waste that gets incinerated and lead to climate emissions. The resource that plastic represents should not perish.

"We want to tell a story with our benches. When you sit on the bench, you can read a QR code and be taken back to the beach where the plastic has been cleaned. The bench tells the story of where it has been before. This is also how you who sit on the bench become part of the story."

Vestre's Coast benches, made of Ogoori plastic will be on display during Arendalsuka.

Photo: Vestre's Coast bench made of Ogoori ocean plastic.

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