How can a plant pot protect the sea & make people fall in love with it?

How can a plant pot protect the sea & make people fall in love with it?

Kid learning to surf at Surfers Not Street Children in Durban, South Africa

When we love something deeply, we will always protect it. This is the premise of Ecotribo and one of the reasons I started it. It started out as a passion project and side hustle. I wanted to make a difference for people and the planet through thoughtful eco-design. My mission is to help promote positive outcomes for coastal communities by cleaning our oceans and promoting recycling. I want to demonstrate how people can renew, rejuvenate and restore, not only the ocean but themselves by connecting to the sea. 

I’ve been a surfer and ocean lover pretty much as soon as I could walk in fact here’s a picture of me enjoying the beach before I could walk! Cute hey?

Tyrone Probert Foundr of Ecotribo as a child loving the beach
Little Tysie when Ecotribo was a twinkle in his eye!

I grew up on the east coast of Africa so was lucky enough to surf with dolphins and other more challenging fish. The ocean has always been the happy place that I have returned to for healing throughout my life. I think you’ll agree, that the world could do with a lot more healing.

During Covid, I spent a lot of time travelling around France and Northern Spanish beaches in my van thinking about how I could make a difference. How could I help our environment with the skills I have as a designer and ocean lover?

I have always loved the sea and done my best to look after her via beach cleaning, recycling and doing what I can whilst living in this weird oily imperfect world. I know how passionate I am for the ocean and what a motivator it is for me to do all I can for her. I realised I have to make people fall in love with the ocean so they looked after her too. So I set about finding a way to help people from all walks of life connect to the ocean, to make them fall in love with it.

So every month I make donations to a variety of coastal charities, people who are cleaning our beaches and helping people connect with the sea through outreach and coastal cleanups. The charities work with people from less privileged backgrounds, sometimes people who have never even seen the sea. There’s no point preaching to the converted. We need to get new people on board!


They feel the circular rhythm of the ocean and how
by loving the sea, it heals and loves us in return.

— Tyrone Probert, Founder

I’m now making plant pots from Ocean plastic and 10% of the profits are going towards coastal charities. I love what these charities are doing in their own unique ways. The passion that they have for the ocean and marine environment and how they all work with local communities and outreach programs. They get people from all walks of life who are struggling and need some healing. When these people start to connect to the sea they feel less anxious, happier and fulfilled. They feel the circular rhythm of the ocean and how by loving the sea, it heals and loves us in return. So a simple plant pot can make people fall in love with the sea and make them the new generation of ocean guadians.


A plastic@bay beach clean in Northern Scotland

I am currently supporting the wonderful people at plastic@bay who are tackling marine plastic pollution in NW Scotland and beyond by monitoring, researching, developing, recycling and providing educational outreach. I also buy my material from them which gives the charity a source of income for the beach cleaning.

I also donate to Surfers Not Street Children whose model fuses surfing, mentorship and care. The Organisation has dedicated local teams that include social workers, carers, lifeguards, surf coaches and administrators. Many children empowered by Surfers Not Street Children have transformed their lives. Some have gone from ‘street children’ to becoming coffee baristas, lifesavers, surf shop staff, restauranteurs, surf coaches and even pro surfers. All of them love and care for themselves and the sea.

A beach clean with the crew of Clean Ocean Sailing in Gweek, Cornwall

Clean Ocean Sailing is based down in Cornwall. They fish for marine plastic sustainably under sail and are able to find ocean plastics in all those hard-to-reach areas in coves and at sea. They also do outreach programs with locals helping them experience the ocean at sea, clean beaches and connect with the ocean.

I’d love to support more charities and the aim is to continue to grow this aspect. Currently, I am still a small startup but I do believe this is a really positive way to help our environment. Thanks for your continued support and please reach out if you want any further information.

Oceans of love

Tyrone

New Recycled Ocean Plastic Sculpture to raise awareness

Ocean Plastics Suck Sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin. The sculpture is in the shape of a ice-cream lolly as if its dropped and melting on the floor

‘Beach plastics suck’ – A new sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin collected from my beach cleans. I’ve been working on this behind the scenes since lockdown. Now I’ve made my ‘Oceana plant pot’ made from recycled ocean plastics I have had the headspace to finish this sculpture.

Inspired by my road trip to France and Spain and hanging out on beaches I saw a kid drop her lolly. She burst into tears at the loss and I wondered how we will react generations from now when we see the massive ball/lolly we are dropping by not looking after our oceans and planet.

Ocean Plastics Suck Sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin. The sculpture is in the shape of a ice-cream lolly as if its dropped and melting on the floor and the room is dark but the sculpture is lit with an internal light
Ocean Plastics Suck Sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin
Ocean Plastics Suck Sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin. The sculpture is in the shape of a ice-cream lolly as if its dropped and melting on the floor
‘Ocean Plastics Suck’ Sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin

Immediately the sculpture also reminds us of the devasting effects of climate change with the lolly looking like it’s melting. I wanted to create an iconic and memorable image to grab attention and remind us of the fragility of life on this planet. With all my work whether it’s the design of my Ocean Plastic plant pots or these sculptures, I hope to create memorable pieces that start conversations and amplify environmental messages without preaching or being too heavy. It is an important conversation but if we are to speak to the masses I feel that playfulness is a way in. I want people to fall in love with nature and protect it rather than guilting them into any action.

A visual of a giant ice lolly sculpture made from recycled ocean plastics. A proposal for Bristol waterfront
Ocean Plastics Suck Sculpture proposal made from recycled ocean plastics, wood and bio-resin. The sculpture is in the shape of a ice-cream lolly as if its dropped and melting on the floor

The sculpture is approximately 38cm high x 48cm wide. My dream is to make these sculptures at a much larger size utilising the collected trash from coastal cities. It would be great to work with schools, NGOs and charities to raise awareness of our environment, plastic recycling and materials want to do beach and harbour cleans with the community and then use the very trash collected collectively to make a giant sculpture to raise awareness.

If you are a city councillor or know of any communities who may be interested in commissioning such a piece please do get in touch.

UPDATE: Super excited to have been featured by @realpreciousplastic on their Instagram account with nearly 94 000 followers. They have been a big inspiration for many years. I have also received a few commissions from interested people which has been fantastic. Thank you for the support!

Instagram post of Ocean Plastic Ice Lolly Sculpture

The Marine Litter Strategy – 10 key findings

Ghost net recovery

Ocean plastic is everywhere and an urgent response is needed from the government and the marine industries. Marine Scotland is updating its Marine Strategy which was last published in 2014 and is out for consultation.

A comprehensive response to the marine litter strategy has been written by Scottish charity plasticatbay.org with some key findings for us all. They have done extensive research and work in the field of ocean plastics so are best placed to give an informed in-depth response which you can find here.


Some key findings to help reduce ocean plastic around Scotland and the UK.

  • Scotland is one of the most polluted coasts in the world.
    According to @PlasticBays report, research and data NW Scotland is one of the most polluted coasts in Europe (probably in the world).
  • We need a review of enforcement of the terrestrial littering and fly-tipping regulations.
  • We urgently need the development of a waste management system.
    Currently marine waste is shipped to Europe for processing. We need to improve recycling routes for end of life fishing gear here in the UK with a local processing fascility.
  • Implement producer responsibility across the UK.
    Scotland and the entire UK needs to align with the EU and implement the ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ on Fishing Gear, making manufacturers pay for collection and recycling.
  • Fishing and aquaculture are responsible for the majority of ocean pollution.
    Accdording to the data collected by @ plasticbay 50 to 90% of the ocean plastics removed by weight, is from fishing and aquaculture
  • We need policy to reduce sewage related pollution from industry and water companies
  • We need the development of an international plastic pellet certification scheme.
  • Coastal Rangers work and we need more around our coasts
    A major gap of the consultation is the omission of beach cleaning requirements. Coastal rangers have been implemented when funding has been there and they work at finding marine pollution before they become a problem. There is too much reliance on charities and the goodwill of the public.
  • Monitoring needs to be expanded nationwide and all year round. We noticed vast variations between the summer when most surveys used by Marine Scotland are made and the winter when ocean plastic pollution is at its worst lacks data. 
  • Net cuttings and waste from aquaculture
    Marine Scotland still fails to recognise net cuttings and waste from aquaculture and shipping as a major source of ocean plastic pollution.

What can you do to end ocean plastic pollution?

Fundamentally we have a problem and we also have some clear solutions which need to be implemented asap across not only Scotland but across the UK, EU and world. This issue is one of the most important in the world right now and needs to be put firmly on the agenda.

Please speak to your local MP and ask them what they are doing to tackle this issue?

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