The ocean’s collected waste plastic gets and grows a new life with this urban planter

Since 2013, the Ocean Cleanup initiative has encouraged designers to envision products that could be made using plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Inspired by this initiative, student designer Troy Dunn created this conceptual urban garden planter project to achieve two environmental missions: recycling plastic materials and fostering green environments in urban settings!

This sustainability-design project called for products that were durable, easy to use, able to retain their value (after all, what is the point of rescuing plastic from the ocean only to have it dumped into the garbage again), related to social activities, and finally, a product that people actually wanted and would keep for their whole lives. To fit these requirements, the urban planter was made to be weatherproof, ergonomic, and stackable. Floor space is limited in urban areas, so it was important to design a product that wouldn’t take up too much room — as the owner may end up throwing it away to make room for their other possessions. The reason this conceptual planter works is because there is an emotional attachment between humans and anything they create/produce. Plants, though don’t speak, still react to our love and care, and watching them grow and bloom is a highly fulfilling endeavor. Any plant parent will tell you once you start growing plants, its impossible to back out!

The urban garden planter concept is made up with three different parts- a synthetic cork base, to protect against wear and tear, a water reservoir made of clear plastic, which allows users to see the water levels inside and prevent overwatering, and a “soil vessel,” which holds the plant. The water reservoir sets this product apart from other gardening products. Most planters are designed with the assumption that the water that drains out the bottom will simply be absorbed by the ground underneath it. City dwellers rarely have a backyard where they can set their pots on the actual dirt, which means that water will simply leak onto a brick patio or some other man-made surface. The water reservoir is just one of the many thoughtful alterations that make this product perfect for urban life while reducing the chances of overwatering the plants.

Designer: Troy Dunn



Disclaimer: The Ocean Cleanup Planter is a conceptual render created by Troy Drum as a design exercise. These renders aren’t affiliated with or connected to the Ocean Cleanup brand in any way.