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Our Odyssey

THE JOURNEY

A Marine Plastic Odyssey.

Odyssey Innovation was born from a passion to rid the seas of plastic pollution. In 2014 founder Rob Thompson established a volunteer group of divers to retrieve marine plastic and ghost gear.

Rob had the honour of meeting His Royal Highness, Prince Charles during an Ocean Plastics event. Here he signed a pledge to explore ways of developing a circular economy around marine plastic. Taking this responsibility seriously, he embarked on a marine plastic Odyssey.  

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FORMING AN AMBITIOUS PLAN

The challenge.

The challenge was how to resolve three recurring obstacles.

  1. How best to access inaccessible stretches of the Cornish coastline.
  2. How to dispose of the plastic collected.
  3. How to fund ocean clean up activities.

To resolve these issues, an ambitious plan was formed using the circular economy, to turn these problems on their head and find a solution.

ON THE MOVE

The Solution.

The eureka moment came after a litter pick using kayaks, it ended with volunteers stood around a great haul of bin bags to have their photo taken.

The knowledge that these bags ended up in landfill had always played upon Rob's mind and it occurred to him that he could make the kayaks out of the plastics gathered and then use the kayaks to gather more plastic.

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KAYAK MANUFACTURING

The development.

It took a further two years of research for Rob to find a way of recycling the marine plastic into a material suitable for kayak manufacturing.

During this time he formed partnerships with Keep Britain Tidy, to assist in recycling beach plastic which became the Ocean Recovery Project and he became Plastix UK representative for the recycling of finishing nets.

GIVING BACK

A world's first.

In January 2018 he approached Palm Equipment, a UK based leading kayak manufacturer, with a recycled material suitable for roto moulding. Within a matter of days, the world's first prototype marine plastic recycled kayak was produced.

The kayaks are not just retailed but also used for our global Paddle for Plastic campaign to retrieve marine plastic and give back to communities that support us through sponsorship.

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WE MAKE AN IMPACT

Corporate Social Responsibility.

Experiencing positive change concerning the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic is no mean feat, especially when we all know how hard change can be on a personal level- let alone a nationwide and global level! However, given our story, we have to believe.

Every single one of us has the power to help the environment if we want our loved ones to inherit a world worth living in.

Our Founder, Rob Thompson, set up this company with less that £200 in the bank and orchestrated most of his business alone until friends and other eco-warriors started feeding in to his work. It was right after a beach clean in 2015, that Rob finished from a ocean clean up kayaking expedition that triggered the birth of Odyssey Innovation.

It was also this that inspired the company's giving back mechanism.

Through our awesome Paddle for Plastic Campaign we create positive connections between plastic as a waste and waste plastic as a resource which sheds light on the severity of the plastic crisis whilst also instilling hope, courage and determination in all our fellow paddlers. To read more please click the link below.

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WORKING TOGETHER

Collaborate with us.

Odyssey Innovation collaborates with charities, government bodies, the fishing industry, recyclers, manufacturers, innovators, and businesses, in order to find long-term sustainable solutions to tackle marine plastic pollution through the circular economy. If you would like to find out more about how your business can incorporate the Circular Economy please take a look at our consultancy page.

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Our Impacts & Statistics

♻️ To date we have recovered, diverted and recycled more than 400,000kgs (400 tonnes) of marine plastic waste.

*This would have been impossible without the help of all the fantastic beach clean community groups, councils, harbours, businesses, fishermen, net makers and charities we work with today. 

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Our Impacts & Statistics

😎129 plastic bottle caps - or - 4ft² of fishing nets

That's the equivalent amount of plastic you are helping divert from the marine environment when you purchase one of our Marine Recycled Plastic Surfing Handplanes.

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Our Impact & Statistics

🏆Every month new partners subscribe to our free recycling schemes; today we are proud to support the recycling ambitions of 138 beach clean groups, charities, fishermen, businesses, harbours and councils across the UK

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Our Impacts & Statistics

🛠️We are the creators of the world’s first marine recycled plastic kayak; a multi-award winning 100% circular economy product!

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Our Environmental, Social & Economic Impacts

🌍 Choosing our products over virgin plastic varieties means reducing your carbon footprint by up to 82% CO2 emissions.

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Quotes
“Rob’s work has been the key factor in fishermen and ports in the SW engaging with the recycling of fishing gear. Resulting in over 60 tonnes of fishing nets being recycled, reducing the amount of fishing gear going to land fill, improving the environmental credentials of the fishing industry in the SW and having a direct impact in reducing plastic in the ocean”.
RICHARD CASLAKE
Regional Manager, Seafish
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Quotes
“Programs like Odyssey Innovation’s Paddle for Plastic are extremely valuable for raising awareness about various forms of ocean plastic and giving people a tangible way to contribute to a solution in a fun and engaging way. The circular nature of the program is also extremely valuable as there’s a direct tangible result in the creation of new kayaks from recovered ocean plastic to allow for further expansion of the program and its positive effects. We’re proud to have Odyssey Innovation as a member of the GGGI.”
Joel Baziuk
Deputy Director GGGI
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It’s always deeply satisfying to hear when our clients successfully launch a new product to market. It’s been a long time coming but creating something new from recycled materials isn’t as straight forward as people think. Rob has pioneered the process of recycling marine plastic and has even collaborated with multiple organisations to form a net recycling scheme. It’s amazing what they have achieved and it’s been a pleasure to have played a small part in their innovation journey”, she says.
Jenny Naldreath
Market Researcher, Acceleration Through Innovation
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Rob is an inspiration and a great thought leader in the ghost net space, what he is doing is fantastic and I hope he gets more help and backing to grow more, a real ocean ambassador. and role model.
Christopher Storey
Sea Shepherd Global
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“Rob is one of the most passionate, hardworking, and inspiring people I know. His application of circular economy ethos to tackling what is an enormous economic and environmental issue is a great example of modern day innovation and social enterprise. ”
Jon Harvey
Environment Agency Plastics and Sustainability Team
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Quotes
“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to paddle cleanup whilst in a kayak made from marine plastic and then donate the hard plastic we picked up to be turned into more kayaks. This is a great example of the circulatory we need to aim for. What you have achieved is truly inspiring”
Clare Osborne
Founder, Activist
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Quotes
You have shown remarkable ingenuity in developing a model which will not only collect discarded plastic from the sea, but recycle it so it can be used to collect more debris. Your pioneering work is preserving our seas for future generations.
Theresa May
Prime Minister (2016 to 2019)
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Quotes
"A wet but very enjoyable day at The Mount Batten centre with my new recycling hero Rob out on very special kayaks doing our bit for the British seas‬"
Steve Brown
TV Presenter, Captain of the GB wheelchair rugby team
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"Every kayak made has been the result of teamwork and dedication for the protection of our marine life - these truly are made to save the ocean for people who love the ocean... people like you and I"
Lizzi Larbastier
Founder, Blue Mind Coach
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The Blog

Stay updated with our news, review and articles.

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The Net Regeneration Scheme to Offer Free Recycling of Fishing Gear to the Welsh Fishing Community
10 Oct 2021

This Press Release in brief:- The Net Regeneration Scheme is the first of [..]

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Odyssey Innovation Founder Invited to No.10 Downing Street
03 Oct 2021

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New Product Launch!
10 Oct 2021

2 years ago we asked the public to help us de [..]

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Our fabulous Partners, Sponsors, and Supporters.

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Odyssey Innovation Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales, company number 11320877