Cocoon Comb - The Story Behind the Plastic

Cocoon Comb - The Story Behind the Plastic

Photo: Brown Cocoon Combs nestled in 100% post-consumer plastic pellets from Legacy Plastic, made from end-of-life fishing gear.

At Crown Bees, we prioritize sustainability and are working hard to implement changes to reduce our environmental impact. One of our goals for 2022 has been to transition away from single-use plastic and virgin plastic in our packaging and product materials.

Notice we didn't say ALL plastic. That's because we recognize that while plastic pollution is a huge problem, plastic itself is a very durable and versatile material and is likely here to stay. Instead of swearing off plastic entirely, we believe that fixing our plastic waste problem requires fundamental changes in how plastic is made, used, and thrown away.

Our Cocoon Comb is an example of a product with a complex shape that is easy to design and manufacture using plastic injection molding. Otherwise, it would be too complicated and expensive for our small company to make.

To make our Cocoon Comb out of 100% post-consumer plastic, we needed to find a source of recycled plastic pellets and a manufacturer who would agree to work with lower volumes of recycled pellets. So, we set out to find local companies and partners creating solutions to improve methods for collecting plastic waste and recycling it into new products. Our search led us to collaborate with Net Your Problem, Ocean Legacy’s Legacy Plastics, and SEA-LECT Plastics to create our Cocoon Comb!

The Story Behind the Plastic

When you purchase a Cocoon Comb, you'll receive either a green or brown comb. Both combs use Legacy Plastic, but each color has a unique story behind the plastic.

Legacy Plastic is a high-grade 100% post-consumer processed plastic recovered from used marine gear, coastal shorelines, and our oceans for use in the manufacturing of new value-added, durable products — like our Cocoon Comb!

If you receive a brown Cocoon Comb, it's made from recycled end-of-life fishing gear like old nets and ropes collected by Net Your Problem — a distributor for Legacy Plastic.

Photo: Brown Cocoon Comb made from recycled end-of-life fishing gear like old nets and ropes collected by Net Your Problem.

Net Your Problem, founded by Nicole Baker and based in Seattle, works with boat captains and fishermen to recycle end-of-life fishing gear before it hits the landfill. Watch the short video below to learn more about Net Your Problem and the benefits of using recycled fishing gear to create new plastics.

One of the great things about working with Net Your Problem is we know exactly where the recycled gear used to make our Cocoon Comb came from — in our case, The F/V Pinnacle, captained by Mark Casto. Since Net Your Problem is a local company, they were even able to help us set up a visit with Mark on The F/V Pinnacle to snap a few product photos!

Thank you, Mark! We had a blast on the photo shoot and hoped you had a successful summer fishing in Alaska!

Photo: The F/V Pinnacle, captained by Mark Casto, the fishing vessel that supplied the end-of-life gear used to make our Brown Cocoon Comb.

Mark is one of the many ocean stewards and sustainability champions working with Net Your Problem to dispose of their old fishing gear responsibly and doing their part to reduce their impact on our oceans and planet. We're so excited to support the individuals and fishing communities working with Net Your Problem to close the supply chain loop — we couldn't do it without their help!

Photo: Mark Casto, captain of The F/V Pinnacle.

If you receive a green comb, it's made from plastic collected during shoreline cleanups undertaken by Ocean Legacy's cleanup expeditions and other partner organizations.

Photo: Taken at the Ucluelet Ocean Plastic Depot with aquaculture ropes. Courtesy of Ocean Legacy.

Co-founded by Chloe Dubois and James Middleton and based in British Columbia, The Ocean Legacy Foundation (OLF) is a non-profit organization focused on ending ocean plastic waste. Watch the short video below to learn more about Ocean Legacy and their EPIC program.

One of the many great things about working with Legacy Plastic is that each batch of pellets is tracked and traceable from its source with a unique story. The ropes used for our green Cocoon Combs are from aquaculture cleanups that have taken place in the Tofino and Southwestern areas of Vancouver Island.

To manage marine plastic waste responsibly, Ocean Legacy has been setting up depots around the province of British Columbia to divert materials collected from ocean, shoreline and marine industrial cleanups away from landfill and back into the circular economy.

Photos (Above): Cleanups taking place on Vancouver Island with Epic Exeo. Courtesy of Higgy Photo

Photo (Below): Ocean Plastic Depot in Ucluelet, BC. Courtesy of Ocean Legacy

Finally, we want to highlight SEA-LECT plastics in Everett, WA. It is surprisingly tricky to find a manufacturer willing to take on lower-volume injection molding projects. But, SEA-DOG Line, the sister company of SEA-LECT and a staple in the Marine Industry since the early 1920s (notice an ocean theme emerging), was terrific to work with! The individuals at SEA-DOG were extremely helpful with transferring our tooling and utilizing Legacy Plastic pellets — they even joined us on the photoshoot!

Collaboration is essential to tackle the many environmental challenges of today. Bees and other pollinators play a critical role in food production and support healthy ecosystems, and so does our sea life. We're proud to team with companies and organizations working to find solutions that protect and restore our planet. We hope that as you harvest your mason bees with our new Cocoon Comb, you'll feel pride in knowing the story behind the materials.

Photo: It took the collaboration of Net Your Problem, Ocean Legacy, the crew of The Pinnacle, SEA-LECT Plastic, and shoreline clean-up crews to make our new Cocoon Combs!

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