In a bid to do his bit and help turn the tide on the large volumes of plastic found in our seas, Glasgow based Saturation Diver, Ally Mitchell launched Ocean Plastic Pots and started to make plant pots from discarded rope, fishing net and beach plastic having taught himself some basic plastics manufacturing techniques.
Ally is extremely passionate about the environment and marine life and has gone from making small plant pots himself and selling them at a local food market in Edinburgh, to securing a manufacturer in Scotland to produce larger pots for him. He has also partnered with an innovative recycler of discarded rope and fishing net enabling him to make his plant pots on a much larger scale, to meet demand.
“I’ve been working as a commercial diver for the last 12 years and I’ve been fortunate to dive in some pretty special places across Scotland and abroad including, Singapore, The Ivory Coast, Trinidad and The Congo. I have however, also become increasingly aware of the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans and since having my own children, I really feel a desire to play my part to help protect our precious seas.
“In December 2019 a whale washed up on Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris. It had 100kg of rope, fishing net and plastic debris inside of it. Three months later I found myself working as a diver on the salvage of the MV Kaami. It had hit a reef only 20km from the very same beach where the whale had washed up. This job was the trigger that would lead me in the direction of Ocean Plastic Pots.
“The boat was carrying 1937 tons of Pelletised refuse derived fuel (predominately plastic waste) to be incinerated. The salvage was a success and successfully preventing that amount of plastic entering our seas inspired me to create plant pots from a waste material, allowing for future growth. Scotland has some amazing marine life and its impact from pollution is real. This is a small part but I really believe we all have a responsibility to reduce the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans ever year. That is a terrifying amount, causing grave harm to the future of our planet.”
Following the huge spike of interest in houseplants and gardening, Ally has experienced a really positive reaction since the launch of Ocean Plastic Pots. The pots as well as being made from recycled materials, can also be recycled themselves, creating a circular economy, although they are built to last and are very durable.
A percentage of the sales from each pot will go to Ghost Fishing UK, a charity of volunteer technical divers who specialise in the removal of lost fishing gear and rope.