OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

SeaForm: Working with coastal communities globally to create value from waste.

SeaForm provides local communities with the tools and knowledge to up-cycle plastic pollution into goods for ocean-minded travellers.

Photo of Brett
1 5

Written by

Ocean plastic is born on land, with eight million tons of that plastic entering our oceans EVERY YEAR. If we don’t act now, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  (World Economic Forum)

Our focus should be on stopping that flow, while cleaning up the plastic that's already there. It’s not realistic to ignore the plastic that’s now pervasive in our natural environmental

SeaForm creates a value chain.

By providing a direct economic incentive to collect plastic, sort plastic and up-cycle plastic, SeaForm shows people that there is value in waste.

Sustainable solutions have to make business sense.

SeaForm shows communities that there’s value in waste.

  1. SeaForm has developed a range of design-driven goods for ocean-minded travelers
  2. SeaForm shares the tools and the designs to make up-cycled goods with coastal communities globally 
  3. Makers work with their communities to harvest plastic from the environment and create SeaForms
  4. Makers sell up-cycled goods to travellers locally and via SeaForm’s online market 
  5. You (the ocean-minded traveler) buy SeaForms and directly support makers in coastal communities (each product sold means we can provide more tooling to another coastal-community)
  6. Coastal Communities see value in plastic pollution and are incentivised to collect more plastic. Meaning cleaner beaches, cleaner waterways, cleaner streets and less plastic in landfills
  7. Coastal Communities find even more creative ways to use plastic pollution

Idea Title

SeaForm: Working with coastal communities globally to create value from waste. #harvestingwaste

Company / Organization Name



Where are you / your team located?

San Francisco, California

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Whether something is recyclable or not, more often than not, is largely determined by the value of the material/product. Rather than redesigning plastic that ends up as waste, this project shows people living in places without access to plastic recycling, that waste plastic can be reimagined as a valuable resource.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

SeaForm specifically addresses cases 2 and 3. Rather than attempting to recycle bottles and large containers, which have a greater chance of being recycled, the project focuses on the plastics most often found in bottle caps (PP and HDPE) and coffee cups (HIPS). By showing people that there is value in these plastics, they are more likely to develop systems to capture and collect these polymers and ultimately invest the time and resources needed to recycle them.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Currently based in California, we will plan to pilot the concept in Central America in late 2017 and expand to South America, the Pacific and South East Asia with 24 months.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

A key barrier will be acceptance of the project by local communities. We are partnering with several not for profits in the regions we are taking the project to in late 2017 to improve uptake. These not for profits are generally focused on beach clean-ups and community edication surrounding waste, so are interested in finding a solution to recycling that can also deliver a beneficial economic outcome for the communities in which the operate.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Our goal is to have a diverse range of coastal communities making products designed by SeaForm as well as designing and developing their own products for their communities and other markets. Success will include an online market place where people all around the world can source SeaForm products where the majority of profit is directed to the communities #harvestingwaste and making the products for sale. It is important that this process provides full transparency and creates global awareness.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Travelling in Central America several years ago, I wanted to work with some local people that were making clothes for their community and tourists. I showed them some simple surfboard bags that I had made, which could have been sold for $50-70. Their response... "we can't afford the material". The idea was planted, the materials need to have low-no value.

Tell us about your work experience

My wife and I both have Industrial Design backgrounds. I am a sustainability consultant and have specialised in the waste sector for more than 10 years.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Sole trader.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of olanrewaju Giwa

This is one of better solutions globally, but it appears you are only working in America and do not specify on reaching Africa which needs this SOLUTION more because they are a developing Nations.