Ocean Plastic Pots’ Orka is crafted from discarded rope and fishing nets sourced on Scotland’s shorelines.

Founded by Ally Mitchell, an ex-saturation and commercial deep-sea diver from Glasgow, Ocean Plastic Pots was launched in 2020 to investigate the ways in which discarded rope and fishing nets can be repurposed.

Ally spent many years witnessing first-hand the harmful effects that waste plastic and marine litter has on the health of our oceans.

One of the driving forces to launch Ocean Plastic Pots was an incident in December 2019, when a sperm whale washed up onto a beach on the Isle of Harris with 100kg of plastic debris, rope and fishing nets in its stomach.

Three months later, off the same coast, Ally assisted in salvaging a stricken cargo ship that had been carrying 1937 tonnes of shredded waste plastic on its way to be incinerated. Following this, Ally felt he had a responsibility to tackle the issue of plastic waste and debris in our seas and he got to work.

Over a six-month period in his shed in Glasgow, he taught himself some basic manufacturing techniques; shredding and moulding waste plastic material by hand to create Ocean Plastic Pots.

Ocean Plastic Pots’ newest plant pot Orka is made entirely from recycled rope and fishing nets collected from beach cleans on the islands of Eigg, Rum, Muck, Canna, Coll, and the Isle of Skye.

Ally worked with The Scottish Islands Federation Marine Litter Group, The Isle of Skye Beach Cleans, The Scottish Coastal Clean Up Initiative, and the communities of the islands to remove 10 tonnes of plastic waste – of which 1.7 tonnes of rope and net has been used to make the new pot.

The collected ropes and nets are taken to Mallaig Harbour on the west coast of Scotland, by small boats, and any metal or contaminated materials are removed. They are then sorted by colour and recycled into pellets, which are then moulded into the Orka.

Find out more by visiting Material Source Studio Glasgow where the pots are currently being exhibited. Plan your visit here.