'We want to be part of the solution' - Olympians Blair Tuke, Peter Burling push recycled ocean plastic initiative

According to the World Economic Forum, 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year - the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic waste dumped into the water every minute.

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The America’s Cup sailors joined TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning to raise awareness of plastic waste. Source: Breakfast

The report predicts there will be more plastic by weight than fish by 2050 if no immediate action is taken.

Now, Kiwi sailing champs Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have teamed up with Ecostore for a new initiative – producing 20,000 soap dispenser bottles made from recycled ocean waste plastic.

"Peter and I spend so much time on the water that it’s pretty natural for us to talk about it," Tuke explained on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning. "We've teamed up with Ecostore - they’re backing our Olympics campaign towards Tokyo 2020 – and it’s really cool to get behind this new initiative that they have.

"I think the coolest thing about that is that, as well as being part of the solution, it’s also helping raise awareness that there is a lot of waste in the ocean that shouldn’t be there."

Burling said he has noticed some changes in the water over time.

"I think, definitely in some places overseas, you definitely get a little bit numb to seeing how much plastic’s out there," he said. “It definitely hits home a little bit when you get back here and see how much plastic’s in around our shorelines and coastal areas and when you see it offshore.

"It's something that definitely makes us a little bit sad, but it’s something that we also want to be part of the solution as well."

Ecostore will allow customers to take back their bottles and have them refilled at their refill stations, located in their stores and some supermarkets.

"This is something we’re very passionate about,” Tuke said. "The ocean’s home for us and for us to talk about it and to try and leave it in a better place than it is now is something that we’re absolutely driven to do."