Tide Ocean SA is a recycled plastic supplier based in Basel, Switzerland. Originally connected to the Swiss watchmaking industry through its mother company Braloba Group, a world-leading manufacturer of watchstraps, #tide was founded after Thomas Schori was looking into the possibility of using plastic for watchstraps as a way to provide a durable solution to plastic pollution in the oceans. He found out that no such thing had been attempted yet.
A truly innovative entrepreneur, Thomas set out to do what had never been done before: providing a plastic solution by making watch straps out of upcycled plastic waste. Together with the Swiss University of Applied Sciences IWK, he started to conduct research on how to reverse the damages done on ocean plastic waste after being exposed to UV-ray exposure, saltwater, and sand.
"I was warned: keep your hands off trash."
Thomas Schori, Captain & CEO
But he couldn’t resist: "Because plastic pollution is terryfying and we need solutions. That’s why I came up with the idea to upcycle ocean-bound plastic.", adds Thomas Schori.
In close collaboration with the Swiss University, he developed a mechanical method to repair the molecular chain of plastic litter and regenerate broken constituents. The potential of this achievement quickly became apparent and #tide was founded in 2019 as an innovative spinoff, a company providing 100% ocean-bound plastic granules, yarn, and filament to brands and companies throughout all industries. An innovative and perdurable plastic waste solution for which Tide Ocean SA received the German Design and Technology Award Materialica 2019, the Swiss Plastics Award 2020 and the International Hong Kong Business Award 2020.
But #tide is much more than just a recycling company providing a durable plastic waste solution. By building a global supply chain for a premium second life raw material made from 100% ocean plastic, Tide Ocean SA demonstrates what conscious entrepreneurship should look like in the 21st Century. The company is both a material supplier and a strong label for social and environmental sustainability and transparency.
It all begins – of course – with collecting the plastic polluting our oceans. Tide Ocean SA sources most of its plastic in Southeast Asia, namely in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. In those regions, solutions to plastic pollution in the ocean are urgently needed. Due to a lack of waste management systems and infrastructures, most of the plastic waste present in coastal regions ends up in the ocean.
The problem of plastic pollution is overwhelmingly present in numerous regions of the world. That is why the company is planning on expanding its collecting and compounding activities to Africa and Central America.
The Andaman Sea is home to the Moken, a semi-nomadic people of fishermen who used to spend most of their time on their traditional longtail boats on the water. Overfishing and political reasons forced the Moken to give up their traditional lifestyle. Most of them had to settle down and find other ways of earning a living. Together with the Jan & Oscar Foundation, a Swiss Nonprofit organization, #tide supports the Moken by building schools, providing job training and employment. The Moken have become part of the plastic waste solution.
The Foundation has set up a social enterprise to recycle plastic waste in Ranong and provide a plastic solution in the oceans, which led to the collaboration with Tide Ocean SA – and to the plastic supplier’s first subsidiary in Thailand. The local fishermen collect the plastic and bring it to the facility in Ranong where it gets sorted, washed, and shredded. For every kilogram of plastic #tide® pays a fair wage to the fishermen as well as to the social enterprise.
Quite literally: #tide ocean material® gives waste a value.
In 2 years, #tide has upcycled the equivalent of more than 25 million plastic bottles.
The percentage of virgin plastic present in #tide ocean material®.
#tide's upcycling process produces up to 80% less CO2 emissions than producing virgin plastics.
Beach cleanups involving people from local communities are also organized by #tide together with brands that wish to make an additional contribution to helping us close the circle of plastic waste pollution.
This way, the recycled plastic supplier does not only secure itself a steady source of raw material, but also helps set up a resilient waste management infrastructure with high involvement of the local population. This is the first and most important step on the long path to implementing permanent solutions to plastic pollution in the oceans.
The shredded plastic flakes are upcycled according to a method developed in close partnership with the Swiss University of Applied Sciences (IWK).
In a strictly mechanical process, no chemicals or virgin plastics are added whatsoever, the brittle plastic is transformed into a premium second life raw material with an astounding purity level.
A state-of-the-art scientific plastic solution.
In this way, #tide ocean material® can be applied to an endless variety of durable products: watches, jewelry, sporting goods, furniture, apparel, consumer electronics, car interiors, carpets, floors. There is literally no limit to what can be achieved with the material resource.
Within two years, the raw material has been used to create high-quality products by reputable brands such as Karim Rashid, Tom Ford, muvit, Meister, Winter & Company, or Yamamay.
Tide Ocean SA has also developed its own series of OceanProducts® made of 100% ocean-bound plastic, such as the OceanMug, a reusable coffee mug, or the OceanBags.
"We’re proud of all the women and men who help us close the circle."
Marc Krebs, Co-Founder & CCO
In two years, #tide has processed the equivalent of more than 25 million plastic bottles, and this is only the beginning. It is the company’s ultimate goal to retrieve and process 160’000 tons of ocean plastic per year, 2% of the overall pollution.
Besides providing a durable solution to plastic pollution in the oceans and therefore protecting the environment, it is Tide Ocean SA’s mission to convince as many companies and brands as possible to substitute their plastic with 100% #tide ocean material®. By adapting the principles of a circular economy, companies become part of the plastic waste solution, they can lower their consumption of fossil resources and at the same time help clean up the oceans.
Replacing virgin plastic with #tide ocean material® can drastically reduce one’s carbon balance; a study shows that upcycling plastic waste can lead to generating up to 80% less carbons emissions than virgin plastics.
What comes next? In 2022, #tide is opening up to 2 new continents – Africa and America, due to the increasing demand from brands all over the world. In Ghana and Mexico, Tide Ocean SA continues to save marine life and improve the quality of the people who work hard to help the company on its mission to save the oceans from the burden of plastic waste.
#tide ocean material®, the long-lasting solution to plastic pollution in the oceans.