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Upcycling the oceans

Ecoalf is a Spanish company that transforms plastic waste into eco-friendly products through recycling processes.

Photo of Elena Gómez
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Ecoalf recycles plastic bottles, cotton, fishing nets, used tyres, coffee grounds and wool, all over the world, to design eco-friendly products, among others, clothes. In particular, plastic bottles are collected and pass through a series of steps of cleaning and crushing to obtain plastic flakes which, through mechanical processase, converted into rough polyester spun fiber that is manipulated to obtain the final quality. This recycled yarn is then used to develop fabrics, labels, laces, etc..Ecoalf has recycled more that 70 million plastic bottles so far. Phases of the process can be described: collect pet bottles > chips >spinning > weaving > product.

Besides, Ecoalf Foundation has undertaken Upcycling the Oceans project (UOP): a project that will help rid the oceans of rubbish through partnership with fishermen, tranforming plastic debris in the Mediterranean into thread for weaving fabric. In this case, the phases of UOP include fishermen collaboration: collect > put in bins > separate materials > transform >  spin > weave  > product design > sales 

Ecoalf website:

How does this research relate to our Use Cases?

This could be related to any case, whereas the composition of the plastic is similar to the one tested and validated to be transformed into weaving fabric.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

To have positive social impact is important to work with communities who have the knowledge and the know how (in this case fishermen). It is important to share with them passions and purposes they can identify with.

Tell us about yourself

I am a designer, architect and love working in social impact projects. This challenge, for me, is so inspiring!!


Join the conversation:

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Elena!
There are 3 days left in the ideas phase of the circular design challenge! It would be great to see your ideas there, submit your idea via -

Photo of Lauren Ito

Thank you for sharing this Elana, and love your enthusiasm! Excited to see how this research continues to develop into an idea for our next challenge phase-launching in 4 days time! Are there any types of organizations or individuals you would be interested in connecting with in our community to help expand upon these insights?

Also, I saw you were located in Spain. We have a Barcelona OpenIDEO Chapter that I think you would enjoy connecting with for events and resources (

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Photo of Elena Gómez

Hi Lauren! Thank you very much for your answer! It would be a pleasure for me to be connected with anyone you thought it would be interested, thank you so much! I saw Barcelona OpenIDEO Chapter had a workshop last weekend to work together in this challenge...I could not join, I'm living in Madrid for now...But I will enjoy connecting with for future events, thank you!