Photo credit: Marius Vervik
In the early morning of Monday 15th June, co-founder of Ope, Lars Urheim and Iselin Nybø, the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry met to discuss circular economy and regenerative business development. The meeting was arranged by Norwegian Research Council, for the occasion on scenic Sola beach, to highlight the problem of plastic pollution.
Together with Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund, The Norwegian Research Council has co-funded Ope’s project to turn ownerless ocean plastic into furniture. The project is now turned into a full-fledged daughter company, called Ogoori, co-founded with furniture company, Vestre.
On the sunny beach, Urheim and his team have set up Ope’s reusable and multi-functional modular system that is made up of panels to adapt to a variety of configurations based on the layout and the changing needs of the users. Their circular design with this system can be turned into a mixture of shelves, seating units, and space dividers.
Urheim handed over a jar of plastic pellets to Nybø from their first production of Ogoori’s 100% ownerless marine plastic made by Noprec – Norwegian Plastic Recycling. Then they performed a “digital handshake” through an app using technology partner, Empower’s blockchain technology. Minister Nybø will hold onto the granulate until Ope are ready to include it in design objects for homes and offices.
Blockchain technology ensures that the origin of ocean plastic is traceable and transparent. Information of the materials is stored on the blockchain app all the way from the collection point via recycling, production and use phase, as well as through future use cycles of the ocean plastic products.
National broadcaster NRK was present at the meeting, where both Urheim and Nybø were interviewed. The minister calls for more businesses to “think innovatively” to tackle climate and environmental challenges. Ope was selected by Norwegian Research Council to showcase an innovative company that is working towards the circular economy.
“It is really worthwhile to use ocean plastic in the circular economy and make a new product out of it, so that the plastic can have a new life. This [Ope] is a great company that is thinking in new ways and is thinking about being climate- and environmentally friendly,” said Nybø.
Ope’s ambition is to set an example for progressive, responsible, and profitable business practice that aims to regenerate damaged nature and create a negative environmental footprint.