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

Ecotribo – Positive Eco News

I am a designer and environmentalist, and in my research, I come across a wide range of positive eco stories. We have some serious challenges as a species, but to give people hope, I am keen to focus on the good ideas that are being developed. I respect the protestors and believe this is an important aspect, but I chose to focus on positive action – I hope you will join me. I will be curating a positive eco news stories that I come across on a bi-weekly basis so I hope you can feel energised and be inspired to work towards positive outcomes for our planet.


Microplastics

Biodegradable capsules that could help solve the problem of microplastics

Paris-based startup Calyxia are hoping to ensure micro-plastics are a thing of the past. The company, which has recently secured $17.5 million in a Series A round of funding, is developing coatings that can be added to plastic products to help prevent the material from shedding off micro-plastics as it wears down.

Earth Shot Prize

The Earth Shot Prize Winners

It was so exciting to watch the recent Earthshot Prize this last week. This is the most ambitious and prestigious Environmental award of its kind – designed to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next ten years.

The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals for our planet which, if achieved by 2030, will improve life for us all, for generations to come.

Gulp and new filter for your washing machine
Eco-friendly Technology

Plastic Free Washing is here with a new Bristol start up

Stop micro-plastic pollution from your laundry – one gulp at a time. Gulp is a Microfibre Filter that works externally with all washing machines. Removing plastic waste from our water and protecting our precious oceans. Designed and engineered by a team who worked at Dyson, you can now be one of the first to sign up to get this incredible new technology.

Ecotribo ‘Ocean Tide’ Planters’ available in Prior retail outlet
Ocean Plastic Plant Pots

Ecotribo plant pots now available in new eco retail outlet in Bristol

PRIOR SHOP is a not-for-profit independent shop, workshop space, gallery and community hub in Bristol’s City Centre right near the Apple Store! Our ‘Ocean Tide’ plant pot made from recycled Ocean plastics and oyster-shell biomaterials, have been selected for the store and online.

Plastic-free wetsuit hangers. Made from recycled wetsuits and sustainable FSC wood

Wetsuit hanger made from recycled wetsuits

I’ve always been looking for a wetsuit hanger that can hold all my surf gear in one place. Also something with a mission to help our environment and find solutions to ocean waste. Ecotribo has been my side project for the last few years and it’s gathering steam- Designing products that ‘Clean our seas and plant positivity’. I’m always looking for ways to tackle and utilise waste streams in the production of my art, design, and recycled products. So far I have been making plant pots from ocean plastics and collaborating with Rideguard to make mudguards from recycled industrial plastics. And now I have launched a wetsuit hanger made from recycled wetsuits and FSC wood and manufactured right here in Bristol.

Comfortably dries a full length mens wetsuit, gloves & booties

Easily hangs from just about anywhere

Proudly made locally in Bristol, United Kingdom

Our oceans demand we do better.
In the United Kingdom alone, around 380 tonnes of old wetsuits end up in landfill every year according to research done by the University of Exeter. Countless more pile up in our sheds, garages and clubhouses. As surfers and ocean lovers, we like to think of ourselves as a pretty eco-friendly bunch. We love the natural world that we play in and ensure we recycle everything we can.

But surfboards and wetsuits are unfortunately responsible for some pretty damaging pollution. PU surfboards are a notoriously harmful mix of chemicals, that damage the environment in the manufacturing process and are near on impossible to recycle. 


Some positive outcomes for our planet.


Fortunately​,​ due to awareness around the problem, we are beginning to see some fantastic new surfboard manufacturing processes. The​re are​ new product​s that​ utilise​ converted locally abundant sugarcane biomass that is polymerized and expanded into the rigid foam​ with links to biotechnologies based in the Netherlands​.​ Whilst Entropyresins make a bio-based surf resin, which is what I use in my #handsupforthesea coat hanger product.


​We​tsuits have similar challenges​,​ as the material​s​ ​are generally made from a variety of ​petroleum-based ​composites.​ Patagonia has made some big strides in finding eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based neoprene. They have a great product made with sustainable natural rubbers called Yulex. It’s still early days in the industry so in the meantime most of our wetsuits are not recycled and end up in a landfill.

Wetsuits are currently made from a number of different composite materials

Wetsuit material ​is ​complex​.​ A single suit can use up to 15 different types of neoprene and/or rubber composites​. When these materials are combined in these ways it makes it hard to separate the materials at the end of their lives. This makes​ wetsuit recycling nearly impossible​ at this point​.​ 

Be the change you want to see

I have been fascinated by sustainability and material design and how it can bring about positive change for several years. With a variety of my design and art projects, I have always tried to utilise waste materials and create a circular economy. I admit it’s not perfect but am on a journey, taking steps towards a very idealistic goal, so please bear with me!

By making and trying new things I hope to raise awareness and find solutions. I hope that by utilising this recycled/upcycled wetsuit material I can make a product that is useful and brings positive outcomes for our environment. The wetsuit hangers straps are made from wetsuits I get from surfer friends and local surf clubs. (Please get in touch if you have any and I would be happy to take them off your hands and ensure they don’t ​end up in land-fill). The hanger body is made from a sustainable FSC wood which is CNC’d locally here in Bristol by a KWMC Factory, a community based digital fabrication factory. The wetsuit straps are then sewn by a local seamstress with an industrial sewing machine providing local people with work.

 
I am so grateful for the positive messages and reviews of the product so far. I hope that by bringing awareness to this issue I can be a small cog in the machine that brings about lasting positive change.​ Please subscribe and join me on the journey.

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!

10 Reasons to use Bee Friendly Rape Seed Oil and where to get the best stuff

Bee friendly

Love bees, nature and healthy living? My partner and I have started to move away from Olive Oils using the local British rapeseed oil for a variety of reasons. Here are 9 good reasons to use Rapeseed Oil over any other oil and where to get the best Rapeseed Oil in Britain helping our bees at the same time!

To be clear we are talking Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, sometimes labelled premium, virgin or extra-virgin which has many health benefits over other traditionally used oils.

1. The oil is celebrated for its health benefits as it has less unhealthy saturated fat than ALL other cooking oils and fats.

2. It is also high in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9.
That’s good for brains and may help you fight against cardiovascular disease.

3. It’s a rich source of vitamin E.

4. Cooking benefits – rapeseed oil can be used at high temperatures so no burning & smoking!

5. It’s great used cold as well, for salad dressings, sauces and marinades.

6. Great flavour that lets the others shine through! Rapeseed Oil has a very light and delicate flavour so you get the best from the flavours of other ingredients in your dishes

7. Baking – rapeseed oil is a great substitute for butter (we haven’t tried this yet but heard its can!

8. Great to cook with, on salads etc.

9. Its made in Britain so it’s supporting local sustainable businesses

10. Ok maxed out and can’t find another reason but here are some fantastic farmers who are supporting bee-friendly practices by not using neonicotinoid seed treatments on their land. Please try to support them as they try to keep a natural balance in farm ecosystems: visit http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/

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