Ocean Recovery Alliance

    Prince's Award for Innovative Non-Profit Work  

    By Prince Albert Foundation

    - Published on January 25, 2018 by Prince Albert Foundation

    January 25, 2018 - Mr. Douglas Woodring, Founder and Managing Director of Ocean Recovery Alliance, has been awarded 2018 Prince’s Prize for Innovative Non-Profit Work by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.  The winner of the 2019 award was given to Mr. Paul Polman for his instrumental work as CEO of Unilever and the significant engagement he created in their quest for sustainability.  Ocean Recovery Alliance focuses on bringing together new ways of thinking, technologies, creativity, collaboration, and initiatives to help improve the ocean environment.  The Award is a global initiative jointl…

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    Ocean Recovery Alliance



    "Tonny" the Tonle Sap Fish

    The first "Inland Ocean Festival" - on Cambodia's Inland Ocean, the Tonle Sap Lake was a great success in June, and is now being planned as an annual event.  This is part of our Water Rising Festival of events in the month of June, to celebrate World Environment Day and World Ocean Day, both in the first week of June, as well as the environment and the livelihoods on the lake.  June also marks the seasonal rising of the waters, and we have combined our event with the traditional monk festival to bless the incoming waters along the lake in Kampong Phluk.   The special Lantern Parade with over 120 lanterns made by local students traveled from the high school in the village to the lake, 3km away, with the creation of "Tonny," the Tonle Sap Fish for all to see.  The lanters represent the wildlife of the lake, and created a "Night Aquarium" for all to witness. 

    The goal is to raise awareness about water protection and reduced pollution, as most of these communities do not have proper waste management systems or recycling programs.  Our programs have led to better awareness, less dumping, less burning, and new thinking about environmental and water stewardship.  In four years, we have engaged over 12,500 people in five villages, removing over 120 tons of waste from the communities and waterways and now have our ongoing Harvest Plastic Program.  We have built trust, gained local and national government support, and are now expanding to new villages.  Celebrating Cambodia’s Inland Ocean, the Tonle Sap.  Thanks to Prudential Cambodia, and the Giant Puppet Project for their support and collaboration. 

    You can support and be engaged with our Water Rising or Water Falling Festival events during the year, as well as the Inland Ocean Festival in June 2024.  Contact us here, or donate our Simply Giving site



    Harvest Plastic is our new, very successful program in both Cambodia and Indonesia, for the focused collection of plastic from village households, without contamination of other waste. That’s a key factor in successful recycling - capturing material with no contamination. This makes it easier to recovery for recycling and avoids the need for dumping and burning.  Our first bi-monthly collection brought in 82kg from 12 households, and next one a few weeks later quickly grew to engaging 62 households and over 430kg of plastic, all well-suited for recycling.  Watch this space for more to come!






    Listen to two of our recent podcasts if you want a deep-dive update on the world of plastic pollution and what some of the complexities, and solutions are. This is relevant for those also following the UN Plastic Agreement process which is now underway, and being undertaken in the next 2 years.   Click on the images below to hear the podcasts of Hardware to Save a Planet, and Mama Earth Talk.   Included also is an article in Greenbiz article on the some of the missing aspects in the treaty discussions so far, which would allow for scaled, legitimate global circularity to develop for recycling. 


    News from our Ocean Ambassador, Erden Eruc, and his Westbound Row across the entire Pacific Ocean! 



    LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Erden Eruc’s focus on human-powered transport in his global adventures means he sees up close the pollution in oceans and countries’ internal waters.

    The 60-year-old world lone rower disembarked in his yellow row boat, and landed in Legazpi City on March 24, nine months or 239 days since he left Crescent City in Northern California on June 21, 2021. He had paddled across the earth’s circumference along the equator, a journey of 42,472.2 kilometers (26,391 miles).

     Click Here to read the full article.

    30 Schools in North America, live with Erden, "somewhere" in the Pacific during his epic rowing expedition from California to Hong Kong 

    On the 21st of June, 2021, Erden Eruc, a global adventurer, started his epic journey, "Westbound Rower,across the Pacifc Ocean, rowing from Crescent City, California to Hong Kong.  Due to the pandemic, he has finished this leg of his journey in Legazpi, Philippines, wihich is a new world record in rowing from America to The Philippines, and he's 3/4 of the way for the full crossing.  He will now wait out the typhoon season, and begin his journey to the Asian continent at the end of 2022 or early 2023, so stay tuned!   This is the first-ever human-powered solo Pacific crossing north of the equator.  In partnership with Ocean Recovery Alliance, this rowing adventure has helped to raise awareness about plastic pollution and the overall health of the ocean.  It will be the first ever mainland-to-mainland crossing of the Pacific Ocean between the Americas and Asia.  We have also created some amazing, world-first education content for an expedition, each week, and in three languages - English, Chinese and Spanish.  This content comes out on "Westbound Wednesdays," and is great for students, teachers and outdoor enthusiasts, or anyone who just wants to also track his amazing expedition!  We've created over 32 weeks of great content!

    Click on this StoryMap Link to track Erden's expedition live, and you'll love some of the engaging content here.  All of our education programing can be found on the Westbound Rower Education Pages, so we hope you can spread the word!  


    Check out our new SpyHop Facewear and Plastically Impossible jigsaw puzzles, both bringing engaged stories and education to those who use them.  The puzzles are great for the entire family to learn and think about plastic in a fun, challenging, creative way.  Essentially some of these are like undertaking a reverse beach cleanup, as you put the pieces back together to form the jigsaw puzzle image.   SpyHop Facewear is great for reducing waste from disposable masks, and their cool ocean look creates a story for you to talk about while you are "SpyHopping" around your community.  SpyHopping, by the way, is when a whale comes out of the water, often vertically, to look around in the air to see its surroundings, much like you are doing with your eyes just above the facemask.   Both can be purchased on our Ocean Recovery Alliance Shopify Site.



    We hope you were able to see "Skyscraper" the Whale, unveilved at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, at the Marina Bay Sands.  The incredible whale sculpture stands at over 11m tall, and is made from plastic from the Pacific Ocean, suggesting "Have We Breached the Limit?" in terms of the level of plastic pollution that reaches our environment, and inspires education, awareness and solutions as it greets visitors from all over the world.  Brought to you by Ocean Recovery Alliance and StudioKCA.  It is no longer in Singapore, but stay tuned for it's next Asian stopover. 



    About Our Logo:  "Design is about conception, projection, aspiration, ambition, well before being about drawing. As a matter of fact, the purpose of design is first and foremost to give shape to the actual raison d’être of an organization. To make it meaningful, visible, sentient, and if possible, emotional. A successful logo has the power to connect someone to something, by relating something to someone. 

    In the light of the above, the visual identity of Ocean Recovery Alliance is just brilliant, in so many ways:  

    Ocean is the focus: it is in great danger.  The five rings in the logo represent the five largest oceans of the planet: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern and Arctic.

    Recovery is the goal: it is now or never.

    Alliance is the way: only a collective effort and lasting engagement can work.

    Indeed, “to help improve our ocean environment” is the purpose of the organization, which makes it happen by bringing together “new ways of thinking, technologies, creativity and collaborations in order to introduce innovative projects and initiatives”.  The number five is symbolic in the logo, as it represents the regenerative process and the potential for directing that energy towards a specific and defined goal of new creation, wisdom, balance, regeneration. The loop is closed.  There are five oceans on Earth, but in reality, it is one body of water, and one ocean.  There are five letters in the word “Ocean”.  The logo contains five times the symbol of Oxygen which, as a component of water, is most of the mass of living organisms. Water which is the major constituent of lifeforms. There are also five circles here, which speak of Responsible Business and Sustainable Development  #CircularAdvantage #Circularity2030, and also represent the "Olympics of the Ocean." - Pascal Beucler, Semiotician.


    In Plasticity News, thanks to everyone who participated in Plasticity Bankok as part of the UN's Sea of Solutions Week in November, with over 600 people in attendance.  

    We are pleased to have launched our summary report “Crafting High-Impact Voluntary Commitments to Prevent and Reduce Marine Litter” at Plasticity Bangkok, which introduces a new guide and scorecard, named “Commitments 2.0,” which was made possible by funding from United Nations Environment. These tools will allow stakeholders around the world to create stronger and more effective commitments to reducing plastic pollution, whether for large companies, governments, or small organizations with limited resources. The report is intended to challenge the ‘business as usual’ methods which have previously been used in crafting commitments, and now allows opportunities to engage communities with efficient, replicable and scalable commitments for the world to benefit from. 

    A Special thank you also to the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to the Ocean, and Fijian, Mr. Peter Thomson, for the great support for Plasticity Pacific in Fiji in March.  

    Thanks to everyone from the government, industry, brands, entrepreneurs and do-ers, who were part of our Plasticity Malaysia forum in Kuala Lumpur on October 25th.  Photos and presentations of the Plasticity Malaysia event can be found here. 

    Our Bangkok Ocean In Motion Film Festival was held in December, bringing together people of all ages and cultures to enjoy everything In, On and Under the ocean - without having to get wet! The event features a series of short and mid-length films, each one documenting the beauty, power, excitement and importance of the ocean through stories of adventure, exploration, ecosystems, culture and science.  We have run these events for five years in Asia, so let us know if you are interested to have an event in your city. 

    Ocean Recovery Alliance is an NGO based in Hong Kong and California that works on creative solutions that can scale across business, countries and communities with a variety of stakeholders.  Given our work and knowledge with innovative solutions, entrepreneurs and programs, some via our Plasticity Forum which is unique in its space and focus, we are able to deliver a full range of solutions, with collaborative partners, for companies and governments on their packaging, products, materials, waste or recycling needs, which will help to achieving scaled plastic sustainability objectives, with good stories that go with it, for your employees, and the communities you serve.  Please contact us if you would like some of our consulting advise and expertise. 


    Summary Programs and Projects (which are not listed on the tabs above)

    Water Curriculum

    We are pleased to announce and share our new water systems curriculum, from Mountains to the Sea - "Jockey Club Water Caretakers of Tomorrow," which was also created into an exhibit at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. The curriculum is mainly for agest 9-13 years of age, and if your school woudl be interested in using it, please let us know.  It is free to use, and we believe, one of the best in the world in terms of interactive student work, indoor and outdoor, with eight stand-alone units that can fit into all types of educational styles or programs.  It is available in both English and Chinese.

    You can help support the Ocean by clicking here, as our innovative, creative and scalable programs are made possible because of your vision and engagement to help us expand our work.   Some of our recent work is listed below, but also, don't forget that if you want to report trash hotspots, anywhere in the world's waterways or coastlines, use our Global Alert platform (or app) to take up to three photos of big sections of trash, so that stakeholders in that community can use your data to better manage and prevent litter from polluting our waters.  Click below to see our new short film, Streams of Plastic

    Global Alert Launch - Times Square, NY

    You can bedcome involved with education in rural (or any) communities by supporting our play/puppet show, called "Uncle Roo - the Recycling Rooster"  this is already in five languages, and we hope to have it in many more.   YOUR DONATION can support new performances around the world by helping with costumes and local travel for the show to be performed in other villages, towns or schools in the community.  Once this is performed, we want to have a video of it so we can post that on our Uncle Roo Youtube Channel for others to see and learn from.

    On the Plasticity Forum front, we had two great  Plasticity Forums this year in the U.S.  One in Dallas, as part of Earth Day Texas, and the other in Anaheim as part of the annual ANTEC event by the Society of Plastics Engineers.  A summary video of Plasticity California can be seen below.  All presentations and videos of talks from Texas and Anaheim can be viewed here


    You might also like our new Pick Me Up beach bags - perfect for talking a beach walk, hike or stand up paddle.  Many people would pick up trash if they see it, but when they have nowhere to put it, they keep on walking.......Pick Me Up bags keep your hands free, but bring Pride to the Outdoors, so that you can feel good about picking up more than you left behind, and, have a place to put it.   More information can be found here.

    Plasticty London - “Designing for the Future – Plastic and the Circular Economy”,  Venue: RSA House – “The Great Room”

    Design is one of the critical elements in creating materials, products and processes for the circular economy, but too often, the design community is not at the table in discussions that relate to the sustainability and recovery of plastic.  Learn how you can get ahead on the topic of plastic waste reduction, whether you are a designer, brand, marketer, policy maker, entrepreneur or investor by attending one of our Plasticity Forums.    

    GRATE ART - Art for Awareness

    Reminding people not to dump into storm drains, as everything flows downstream, and downstream is the ocean.  We are excited to have launched the Grate Art project with eight local and Chinese artists in Hong Kong in the Southern District and on the campus of Baptist University.  We hope that your city might like to follow suit, and be part of a sister-city network for Grate Art!

     Kids Ocean Day Hong Kong 

    'Trashzilla" was spotted on the beach in Hong Kong, as over 800 children, teachers and volunteers bring back “Lap Sap Chung,” Hong Kong’s legendary trash monster, in a message to the world that plastic pollution endangers the ocean environment.  “Lap Sap Chung”, or Trashzilla, thrives on plastic trash, and his appearance in Hong Kong sends a reminder from the young community to stop littering the ocean.

    "Material Solutions for Undervalued Resources"

    The 5th Annual Plasticity Forum took place in Shanghai on April 27th and 28th, with great success, and the first discussion of its type on plastic sustainability in China.  Our press release was picked up by publications with a reach of over 385 million readers, so we believe that this was a very positive launch of a bid discussion on plastic sustainability, and where the leaders are going with design, innovation, materials, recycling, and a world for a reduced waste footprint.  This event was held during the same week as CHINAPLAS 2016, and included a tour to the world's 2nd biggest plastic trade show.  The Plasticity Forum also included a 1\/2-day workshop called "Go Circular - Envisioning Products and Packaging in a Circular Economy" that was held in conjunction with our partners, Successful DesignCBi China Bridge, and Green Initiatives.   

    We are pleased to also announce a new report which our parnters Trucost undertook, and one of the world's first Net Benefit Analysis on sustainble plastic solutions, with Dell and Algix.  If their new materials, use of recycled content and reduced packaging were to be replicated across their industries, the benefit to the global environment and our communities would be valued at over US$3.5bn annually.  You can read the press release here, and download the Report Here. 

    A short summary video of our 2016 event in Shanghai can be seen below:

    View the Plasticity presentations here

    Release of Plastic to Fuel Report - Global Update on the Emerging Industry

    Download the full report here (PDF)

    Download the PTF Cost Model here (xls)

    A report on the trends in the plastic-to-fuel industry was released at the Plasticity Forum by the ACC and Ocean Recovery Alliance as a discussion tool for a variety of local and international stakeholders including: municipal and national governments, corporations, community leaders, business associations, NGOs, project developers, and others interested in the management of end-of-life plastic waste.  It aims to highlight the opportunities available for creating value from plastics, in concert with the regulatory, technical and logistical barriers that need to be overcome on the path towards the widespread commercial adoption of plastics-to-fuel (PTF) technology. The report can aid stakeholders by facilitating knowledge-sharing and regulatory convergence to expedite project deployment.  Not intended as a replacement to traditional recycling practices, but given the large percentage of plastic waste that bypass recycling programs for reasons such as lack of infrastructure, capacity, and technology, PTF is becoming a viable addition to a jurisdictions mix of municipal solid waste management (MSW) management strategies.

    Kin Hong Seafood Festival - Hong Kong

    The Kin Hong Seafood Festival is coming back to Hong Kong in its second year, and now bigger than before - and it's going International already!  The event will be the entire month of September, 2017, and is open to any restaurants, catering companies, suppliers and retailers who are serving certified seafood during that month (if a restaurant, you need to have at least one dish).  This is to help build broader public knowledge about sustainable seafood, why we should care about what we are eating, and where that comes from.  "Kin Hong" means healthy in Chinese, and represents both the healthy quality of the seafood, as well as the sustainable (healthy) manner in which it was caught or raised. The event involved over 45 restaurants, catering companies and suppliers in creative events that provided education to consumers and the industry about seafood sustainability.  It provided an opportunity for the public to experience sustainable products first hand.  In working with the F&B industry, the aim is to facilitate restaurateurs in gaining access to sustainable seafood and to increase availability and visibility in the market place, with some restaurants pledging to continue, and increase, their servings of sustainable seafood after the first event!  Click here for more information. 

    Ocean Recovery Alliance Helps Watson Water to Move to 100% Recycled PET Bottles

    We are please to have been parrt of the decision and thought process for Watsons Water to move to 100% recycled material (rPET) for its bottles in Hong Kong.  They are one of the first bottlers in Asia to move to 100% rPET, and their leadership has helped to avoide the production of between 50m and 100 million virgin bottles a year, as its demand for rPET diverts this much valuable material from the waste stream.  Can others follow suit? 

    Ocean Recovery Alliance Introduction

    The focus of Ocean Recovery Alliance is to bring together new ways of thinking, technologies, creativity and collaborations in order to introduce innovative projects and initiatives that will help improve our ocean environment.  This includes creating business opportunities for local communities when applicable, in order to address some of the pressing issues that our ocean faces today.

    The World Bank estimates that the production of municipal solid waste could double by 2025.  Even if this is only partially correct, the environmental impacts could be significant, as most of the countries where populations and consumption are growing, do not have nearly enough capacity to handle this flow of trash - even today.  This lack of capacity to handle our waste generation is what impacts our waters, health, city operations, tourism, and eventually the ocean.  However, if waste were viewed as a resource, we would be able to create tens of thousands of new jobs, create new revenue streams, and alleviate much of the environmental impact that waste has on our communities today.

    Ocean Recovery Alliance has two projects which were announced at the Clinton Global Initiative, focused on reducing the global impact on plastic pollution.  These are unique, because they cut across boundaries and can be used by everyone, without the need for legislative changes, bans or taxes.  We hope that you will be able to use these within your respective communities, as they are tools which can help us all focus on plastic in a new way, leading to efficiencies in use, better recycling and waste management, job creation, and a lower environmental impact within our communities.  Ocean Recovery Alliance is now working with both the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans on the Plastic Disclosure Project for research and programs for cities and their waste analysis.  The first project was in Colombia with the Ministry of Environment, and a three-city study along the Magdalena River Basin, which leads into the Caribbean.  This report, and the report on the Natural Capital Cost of Plastic in the Consumer Goods industry (joint program with UNEP and Trucost), will be released in the summer of 2014. 

    The group is a registered charitable organization in Hong Kong, and is a 501c3 non-profit organization in California. Ocean Recovery Alliance strives to take a lead with a variety of existing stakeholders, leveraging each of their qualities and institutional capacities when needed, while combining forces with the business and technology sectors in ways that have not been done before.  

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    Other Projects of Ocean Recovery Alliance

    The Grate Art project is about street art bringing a message to the community about not dumping in our city street-drains, because those actions impact our waters.   Eight commissioned artists will create ceramic plates to be located on street drains in Hong Kong - a city whose main geographic asset is the ocean.  The project will help to develop local art/design, while also adding some interesting color to our streets, with an important, yet subtle message, of protecting our ocean.  Please visit our Grate Art page to see how you can support this great program.  

    Download our Global Alert map by using our QR Code below!


    Donate to the Ocean Recovery Alliance