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

Transforming ocean plastic waste into recycled ocean plastic plant pots

Ocean plastic plant Pot

For many years we have been working towards how we can turn the tide on ocean plastic and marine waste with design and creative thinking. A small business in Bristol, we started our sustainable journey from humble beginnings in utilising waste materials for our fire cluster lamps, created the ‘Ocean Chair’ in 2018 and now our latest plant pot made with 100% recycled ocean plastic waste called ‘Oceana’. It’s been a long journey of discovery putting one foot in front of the other facing one challenge at a time.

Oceana – A plant pot made from the ocean plastic waste we find on our beaches

Winning the war on ocean plastic & empowering coastal communities

It’s our mission to use beautiful design and creative business thinking to empower coastal communities, clean our coasts of plastic pollution and demonstrate solutions through positive action. We believe our plant pot is the beginning of a beautiful story in the war on plastic and ocean pollution. We hope to inspire people with a positive story of a battle that was won recently in the war on ocean plastics.

Along the coast of northern Scotland in a beautiful area called Balnakeil bay, a ghost net has laid buried in the sand dunes for 10 years. As each tide moved in the sand would bury it deeper and deeper. A small and little known charity called plasticatbay.org that has been cleaning and monitoring marine debris in the area for years came across this massive net.

Cleaning Balnakeil bay
Plastic@bay cleaning Balnakeil bay of ghost nets and ocean plastics

It quickly became clear that it was much bigger than expected. Spread over 100m of the beach, It was buried deep under the sand so they would have to monitor it and cut off what they could to prevent marine animals from getting entangled. It was a slow and painful process.

Cleaning our seas planting positivity

In early February 2020, there was a huge storm that would change things. The winds moved across the coast whipping up the sea and creating massive swells which surged onto the beach. Soon the dunes had shifted and moved and the net was released from the clutches of the sand. Within days Julien, Joan and their team had freed the net and collected several hundred kilograms. For nearly a year the net has been washed by storms and rain stored and is finally being cleaned and processed. The net was progressively cut, dried and shredded and is now being turned into our ‘Oceana’ ocean plastic plant pot.

The ‘Oceana’ – A plant pot made from recycled ocean plastics

The material was dispatched a few weeks ago and is now being made into our designer plant pots. We are humbled by all the work the charity does on the ground and happy to support their work. It has always been a dream of mine to turn trash into treasure and demonstrate how we can turn ocean waste into a valuable resource.

I am now making a small batch of these plant pots and aim to scale and grow the business with a product range of plant pots and other products. Each plant pot is made from recycled ghost net plastics creating a beautiful and unique item for your home. The material is super strong, the colours are beautiful and totally unique. We pay a premium for the material which provide a sustainable income to the charity and community. A percentage of the profits also go towards charity which provides an income to support further work and research.

Ocena Plant pot made from recycled ocean plastics
Plant pot made from 100% recycled Ocean plastics

So all around it is a beautiful circular recycled material story creating wealth and abundance for coastal communities, helping nature and germinating smiles in peoples homes. thank you for joining us on the journey and for your continuing support.

6 Reasons why this plant pot is different to most on the market

Ocean Plastic Plant Pot

Production has started on a unique, designer, decorative plant pot made from recycled ocean plastics. The Ecotribo ‘Oceana’ plant pot is being made locally on the south west coast of England, Bristol. The idea is different to any other plant pots on the market for a number of reasons. All of them are positive and exactly what people and the planet needs.

  1. Positive outcomes for coastal communities.
    This plant pot aims to provide positive outcomes for coastal communities by cleaning our oceans, promoting recycling and demonstrating how we can renew, recycle, restore and regenerate the planet and our economy. Post covid there has been a lot of talk about ‘building back greener’. This local business and product is actually doing it. It will grow a social enterprise that aims to help people and the planet by starting locally and growing around the world. It aims to demonstrate how business can do things differently – where profit does not come before the planet. This plant pot demonstrates how we can help coastal communities take control of their plastic waste turning their trash into treasure and at the same time providing jobs and incomes.

  2. Made from recycled ocean plastics.
    We have utilised recycled fishing nets in our products production. Constructed from high-quality plastics, the material is extremely strong and robust and should last a lifetime. (If it doesn’t you can send it back to us and we will recycled it again for you). Fishing nets are the most abundant form of macro-plastic in the ocean and also the most lethal form of plastic debris for marine life according to the WWF. Currently, 640,000 tonnes of the stuff is produced every year. By using this material we give fishermen alternatives to landfill, as well as financial incentives to recycle their nets at the end of their lifecycle, returning the material back into a circular material loop. The material is recycled and processed here in Bristol and we turn it into products with a positive purpose – cleaning our seas, planting positivity.

  3. Made locally. Made different.
    This plant pot is made with a Precious Plastic ‘Plasticpreneur’ machine. A simple yet extremely effective machine which is part of a big community working to fix the plastic waste problem. The machinery for this planter is extremely cost effective, taking the means of production away from big manufacturers and empowering communities and small makers such as ourselves. This enables grassroots access to turn plastic waste into new opportunities to create and launch innovative products and set up new, income-generating projects and social businesses around the world. With these mobile machines it is possible to start recycling workspaces and the production of recycled products anywhere. We have plans of continuing to demonstrate our materials work and educating communities about the plastic problem from schools to the beaches we love.

  4. Local production means less C02.
    By keeping manufacture and the material we source local there is also the added benefit that we reduce C02 emissions by ensuring transport costs are kept to a minimum. We have shredded and processed our material right here in Bristol at the KWMC Factory. We would like to thank this amazing organisation for all their help and assistance over the years from when a seed of an idea germinated when I started doing material design research and local workshops with them till now.

  5. Different colour ways.
    Initially the plant pot comes in black as we have sourced nearly 1 ton of black fishing net plastics. We like to say, like the great designer Henry Ford, currently its available in a variety of colour ways, as long as it’s black!

    Rest assured we do aim to introduce different colour ways! The design is made up of 3 parts so that it can be mixed and matched in a variety of different colour ways as we ramp up production. We also want to use other local Bristol waste plastics to give us a broader colour palette.

  6. Scientifically proven to boost wellbeing
    Indoor plant pots reduce stress and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, active interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress. Researchers at Exeter University, UK found that indoor plants improve concentration, productivity and boost staff well-being by 47% at work. Being around plants can also increase memory retention by up to 20%.


Our recycled fishing net process


All these reasons combined creates something truly unique and exciting for garden lovers, pot plant lovers, environmentalists, nature lovers and the planet.

There are so many reasons why we love what we do and are excited to launch this new product!


We have grand plans to grow this local Bristol business and continue to introduce new sizes, colours and products into the range. Our mission is to clean our seas, grow plants and germinate smiles. I hope you can now see – it is so much more than a plastic plant pot…it’s a shining ray of light. 


Production is currently limited. Please sign up to the newsletter form below to be the first to get one of the first runs to be made for Christmas 2021!

How to design a more environmentally friendly product and make it better?

Oceana - Plant Pot made from recycled ocean plastics

This was a question which originally appeared and I answered on Quora : What innovative methods can I use to redesign my product? I thought it was an important question and I was fairly impressed with my answer!;-) I thought I’d keep it here for prosperity on my blog. You may be interested in finding out more.

The original answer can be found here: What innovative methods can I use to redesign my product? Tyrone Probert, Director at Www.ecotribo.com (2017-present) Answered May 24, 2019

There are many ways to improve a product’s performance. Kaizen is the philosophy of continuous improvement and businesses need to constantly be innovating. The two most popular ways to make product improvements are to add new product features or improve existing ones. You could create a new product incorporating technology such as IoT or Ai. But I thought I would discuss another interesting and in my opinion, a more relevant idea. If you are looking for an innovative approach to redesign your product/business I would suggest looking at ways that you can make it more sustainable.

The way we design and make things is changing. We need to design products and systems that can efficiently meet our needs within planetary boundaries. The current system is no longer working for businesses, people or the environment. Customers are actively looking for eco-friendly alternatives so I would explore how your business could be more sustainable from product design to packaging and marketing.

Most products are currently designed as if there are limitless resources – take-make-waste. We call this a linear economy. We take resources from the ground to make products, which we use, and, when we no longer want them we throw them away. A new system of design and manufacture is required that is circular and sustainable. Designers and business owners need to consider how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only then can we create a thriving economy that can benefit everyone within the limits of our planet and ensure a sustainable business.

So where to start …

Design out waste: 
Waste and pollution infiltrate every aspect of most businesses currently. These are often design decisions that happen at the product development stage and where 80% of environmental impacts happen. Consider how your product is assembled and disassembled and ensure it can be recycled easily. Can parts be returned and refreshed rather than the whole item being discarded? Can you use new materials and technology to reduce or eliminate waste and pollution?

Keep products and materials in use: 
Have you considered how your product could be repaired and reused in future? Could this thinking be a part of the redesign? Can you redesign your product so it can be repaired easily, reused and easily recycled? What materials are you using? Can they be from recycled or biomaterials? Can you create a system where you collect the product from customers at the end of its life for it to be repurposed and made into another? About 80 million tonnes of ‘waste’ in total are generated in the U.K. alone each year.[5. Are there ways you can reuse your waste streams and create new product ranges or leverage the material in other ways? Have you considered new business models such as leasing so you can ensure the quality and recyclability of your product and supply chain?

Regenerate natural systems:
Can your product design ensure it does good and enhances natural systems? Consider the materials, chemicals, factories and transport it uses to get made and get to market. Use wind and solar to power your workshops and factories as this can be a huge benefit for the planet (and your marketing).

So optimise every element of your product to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and be a leader in the new circular economy. Create a business that you and your children can be proud of. A business that will be around for the next generation and the generation after that. Create products that solve a need without harming our planet and you will be successful my friend.

Above is a picture of my latest product prototype called ‘Oceana’ which is made from recycled Ocean plastics. A simple plant pot but made locally from ocean waste. I believe even the simplest products can be improved by simply replacing the materials and ensuring they are eco-friendly. I intend that the product will be made locally too to ensure that I reduce the products carbon footprint further.

Making the worlds first Ai generated Biomaterial.

IMG 20190219 133959469 Lr 3

I have been designing and developing materials and prototyping products in the eco-space for some time now. I have created products and in the process of creating products using Ocean plastic waste. It’s obvious to all the need to find solutions to plastic waste to help our environment. In a 2 pronged attack on the problem, I have been working with Biomaterials successfully. In order to expand upon these material prototypes, I am now in the process of using artificial intelligence to aid our research and make what could be the worlds first Ai generated biomaterial.

To provide some background to this biomaterials work let me start at the beginning. My journey began by working with a variety of open source recipes and I have then continued my own exploration by creating my own recipes. I am working with a wide range of local bio-ingredients using the existing local waste streams and exploring their benefits.

There has been quite a few successes making bioplastics, bio leathers and a variety of other biomaterials. After exhausting the open source biomaterial recipes I have started developing my own recipes using waste materials and formulating new composites from materials such as coffee granules, mussel shells, eggs shells, post-industrial wood dust, etc experimenting with a range of bio-resins and binders. Its an amazing field of opportunity and provides positive design solutions to our environmental challenges. I believe that biomaterials will be our eco saviour and this field needs as much attention and assistance as possible.

BioMaterials
Bio Materials experiments and developments

To that end, I recently started a project with Derek Ahmedzai www.sharpshooter.org who was the developer behind a number of AI world firsts including the worlds first Ai generated cupcake with Tiny Giant and Ai generated poetry. We now plan to generate what we believe to be the first Ai generated Biomaterial recipes. We thought it fitting to celebrate Earth Day by harnessing Biomaterials, Ai and people.

We have the aim of creating exciting new Ai generated open source biomaterial recipes. We then plan to make the most feasible and successful Ai outputs, test their properties, strength and capabilities in an ongoing biomaterial project. It’s a concept that excites me as it has huge potential to save lives, relieve suffering and help maintain quality-of-life for all.

Our neural network is primed. Now we need to get access to as many databases of biomaterial recipes and material resources as possible to feed into the neural network. In order to get artificial intelligence to effectively create new interpretations, we need as much materials data as possible. If you have any open source resources or recipes that you are willing to share please get in touch.

I am in talks with the University of Bath, Materiom and exploring contacts at UWE and Bristol University. This is a collaboration that requires input from a wide range of disciplines, we need database input but humans too. Please share and get involved if you are interested.
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If materials define an age let’s ensure our generation leaves a legacy that is not defined by plastic pollution but a new bio future that will #donoharm .


Contact info@ecotribo.com .
You can also follow the daily developments on instagram.

Finding solutions to plastic waste. Working with Bio Materials

IMG 20190219 133959469 LR 2

There have been some exciting developments at the tribes home base in Bristol, United Kingdom. We have been exploring the many material properties of nature and have found some amazing alternative materials that are good for the planet and can help use waste materials that would usually end up in landfill. We are currently exploring and cooking up many different materials to get a deeper understanding of their properties, the pros and cons and suitability for particular uses. Yesterday I was accepted for an exhibition in Bath where I will be able to showcase some of these experiments as well as some more realised eco-design projects.

Please visit the ‘What we are made of’ exhibition opening night at 44AD artspace: Fri 08 March (6pm8pm). It will be running for a week at 4 Abbey Street Bath BA1 1NN.

It’s still very exploratory but there have been some amazing finds. I have developed a bioplastic and have tried it in a sheet form as well as in a mould. Its made from a mix of Agar, glycerin and water. The material is very similar in property to the plastic we know when dried. This is an exciting development!

We have had some success with a material made from local coffee granules gratefully received from my favourite local cafe and coffee shop called Friska. The coffee granules make a beautiful material when mixed with a concoction of glycerin, agar and alginate. I’m still experimenting with quantities etc to make the perfect mix. It’s super robust when air dried after a few days. although there is quite a lot of shrinkage as it dries.

Bio material made form recycled coffee
Bio material made form recycled coffee

We are still developing the surf product made from recycled plastic waste. It has taken a long time as the CAD modelling has needed more adjustments and the tooling costs are looking very steep! So its been a bit of an uphill struggle finding the best way forward to fund this project. HAving said that I have some ideas up my sleave so am moving forward again with the hope to have a final 3D print ready by the end of March to show potential investors.

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest developments please follow us on Instagram @ecotribolife or sign up for the newsletter! Thanks for ready and for your support!

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