The circular economy “will never work with the materials we have” says Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans


Plastics will be replaced within ten years by biofabricated materials that eliminate waste and pollution, according to Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch. In future, natural substances such as algaebacteria, enzymes and proteins will be used to grow materials that will replace today’s plastics, said the former designer (Fairs, 2020).

Biofabrication “will replace pretty much everything”

“I believe that the future is about materials that are non-toxic,” said Gutsch, who heads the organisation dedicated to preserving the world’s oceans. “I think biofabrication … will replace pretty much everything in the next 10 years.”

Until now, Parley for the Oceans has mostly focussed on the problem of plastic pollution, trademarking the term Ocean Plastic and finding new high-value uses for the waste material such as shoes and sunglasses (Fairs, 2020).

Adidas has worked with Parley for the Oceans to create trainers from recycled plastic.

However, Gutsch believes that recycling is not a long-term solution. “It’s just a bandage and a translation from an old technology to a new one, he said. “It is nothing else than a step in between.” (Fairs, 2020).

“The circular economy idea will never really work with the materials we have,” he added, referring to a concept that involves recycling and reusing materials to eliminate waste and pollutio. This is not possible with materials such as plastics, he said, since they can never be manufactured and recycled without harmful side effects. The materials are “always shedding and leaking,” he explained. “They’re always doing something bad.” (Fairs, 2020).

Parley has carried out 1,900 individual cleanups in 28 countries

Personal notes:

This article motivates me to continue learning about conventional materials to propose alternatives with less environmental impact. In addition, it demonstrates how an initiative to prevent more plastic in the ocean can be transformed into a model that seeks to reuse conventional materials as a first solution but also work on proposing new materials. Parley for the Oceans has managed to involve companies like Adidas in shifting towards better materials at a commercial level.

Fairs , M. (2020, June 16). The circular economy “will never work with the materials we have” says Cyrill Gutsch. Dezeen. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from