A word from the founder.

In nature everything comes and goes in closed cycles, every living thing is connected and serves others even after it dies.
Humans used to be a part of this perfectly balanced ecosystem, only some remaining isolated native tribes in the Amazons, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea still are.
Exponentially growing populations and industrial development led to a lack of balance between taking from the planet and giving back.

We extract huge amounts of natural resources from the ground. Whether it’s fossil fuels, rock metals or plants. These elements are storing carbon in the soil that are released into our atmosphere by manufacturing consumer goods, causing a direct acceleration of climate change.

Today companies are starting to measure their carbon footprint on the environment due to their method of recovering raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, transportation and shipping to customers.
Unfortunately, some companies are claiming to be “carbon-neutral” or even “carbon-negative” by paying a company that plants a certain number of trees in their name. I think it is a good thing to plant trees. But these “baby-trees” will only start to sequester a significant amount of carbon 20 years from now. If we continue manufacturing the way we do, these trees will not grow in time to undo the damage.

I would never claim that Buoy is carbon neutral, every manufacturing process releases carbon into the atmosphere and if a company doesn’t aim for a circular economy with their products, meaning they don’t recycle their products, then they harm the environment in addition with their trashed goods.

The environmental impact of a product should be measured in 3 steps (Sourcing/Manufacturing, Utility, and Circularity):

1. Sourcing/Manufacturing

Where does the raw material come from? How was it extracted; mined, planted or harvested? How much energy, water, pesticides and fertilizers were used during the process?
Did it leave any damage to the environment after the extraction was abandoned? This would include waste-water lakes, devastated landscapes, cut down forests, destroyed topsoil due to monocultures, contamination of groundwater, rivers and oceans due to fertilizers and pesticides.
During further manufacturing, what is the measured or estimated release of CO2 or other greenhouse or toxic chemicals. Also, what was the consumption of water and energy? What was the use of toxic chemicals?

2. Utility

The usage of the product and which problem it solves. Does it replace single use packaging or products?

3. Circularity

Where does it go, can and (more importantly) will it be recycled?
While decomposing in landfills, will it release greenhouse gases such as CO2 or Methane?

Customers are very often misled by companies.
“We only use sustainable materials”
“Bio-plastics decompose in x-amount of time”
“Hemp-plastic will save the world”
“Our products are recyclable”
…I read every credible source. I have done a great deal of research, talked to specialists in different fields, and would like to share my knowledge about different materials and manufacturing processes and their impact on the environment with you on this website.
I sometimes contact those companies and ask them how I can recycle their product, where was it manufactured, what materials they use. Unfortunately, very often the answers are not satisfying.

Many people think that plant-based products, bio-plastics or bio-degradable plastics, are a good alternative. Unfortunately, there are many reasons against the use of natural fibers. We explain all that in detail here as well.

After 2 years of this research, I have come to the conclusion that the process of manufacturing with the smallest carbon footprint is to recycle plastic in a circular economy (closed loop). By recycling plastic, we reduce the carbon footprint by 80% compared to virgin materials.
We make sure that our products will be recycled again and again. Therefore we don’t mix any different materials together or add toxic additives to make the plastic transparent or flexible. We will talk on this website about the different plastics, their safety for the consumer and why we believe that this is the way to go.

In general, I say that “disposable” packaging is never a solution, disposable means trash.
We need to go back to the times where products were made to last and to be reused.

On this website we won’t show you too many horribly polluted beaches, floating plastic patches in the Ocean and dying marine mammals.
As a diver I have seen many beautiful reefs on tropical islands around the globe. Not many people can experience this and therefore I’d like to show you the beauty of the Oceans and what we have to protect at all costs.

The Oceans are our life support. Between 50% to 80% of the Oxygen we breathe comes from the Oceans. In order to secure human existence on this planet we have no other choice than to protect our environment and the world oceans.

We at Buoy don’t believe in finger-pointing: “The large corporations are responsible for all this.”
We are all sitting in the same boat and we are all responsible for our future and for the future of our children. Let’s not excuse our behavior by blaming others. I believe that we all can do our part in this, starting with the smallest things. Make the right choices: Don’t buy the cucumber that is wrapped in plastic; use a reusable mask; don’t use disposable gloves; rather, sanitize or wash your hands…. the list is endless.
And to be honest, it feels really good once you start changing little things like this in life. Every time I get my coffee in my reusable tumbler, it makes me feel good. Picking up trash on the beach or on the street might feel strange at first but believe me, it feels really good!
Let’s provide a good example for the next generation so they can do it all in a better way.

We just started our operations and are still building up this website so if you don’t find all the answers yet, please excuse us for this. We will do our best to complete all the important topics as fast as possible.
If you have any questions or see gaps in our coverage, please write us and we will promptly answer you and lean into it.

We will launch a Kickstarter campaign on September 22nd for our first product, a reusable water bottle. We would be more than grateful if you would be among the first supporters of our mission.
A percentage of the proceeds will go to different NGO’s that are active in ocean conservation, and also, to our Buoy-foundation that will finance our own direct actions in the field of river beach and reef- cleanings.

Thank you very much for your support!
Sincerely yours,
Rene Hallen


Ocean pollution.

Marine pollution is a growing problem in today’s world. Our ocean is being flooded with two main types of pollution: chemicals and trash.

Chemical contamination, or nutrient pollution, is concerning for health, environmental, and economic reasons. This type of pollution occurs when human activities, notably the use of fertilizer on farms, lead to the runoff of chemicals into waterways that ultimately flow into the ocean. The increased concentration of chemicals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, in the coastal ocean promotes the growth of algal blooms, which can be toxic to wildlife and harmful to humans. The negative effects on health and the environment caused by algal blooms hurt local fishing and tourism industries.

Marine trash encompasses all manufactured products—most of them plastic—that end up in the ocean. Littering, storm winds, and poor waste management all contribute to the accumulation of this debris, 80 percent of which comes from sources on land. Common types of marine debris include various plastic items like shopping bags and beverage bottles, along with cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers, and fishing gear. Plastic waste is particularly problematic as a pollutant because it is so long-lasting. Plastic items can take hundreds of years to decompose.

This trash poses dangers to both humans and animals. Fish become tangled and injured in the debris, and some animals mistake items like plastic bags for food and eat them. Small organisms feed on tiny bits of broken-down plastic, called microplastic, and absorb the chemicals from the plastic into their tissues. Microplastics are less than five millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter and have been detected in a range of marine species, including plankton and whales. When small organisms that consume microplastics are eaten by larger animals, the toxic chemicals then become part of their tissues. In this way, the microplastic pollution migrates up the food chain, eventually becoming part of the food that humans eat.

Solutions for marine pollution include prevention and cleanup. Disposable and single-use plastic is abundantly used in today’s society, from shopping bags to shipping packaging to plastic bottles. Changing society’s approach to plastic use will be a long and economically challenging process. Cleanup, in contrast, may be impossible for some items. Many types of debris (including some plastics) do not float, so they are lost deep in the ocean. Plastics that do float tend to collect in large “patches” in ocean gyres. The Pacific Garbage Patch is one example of such a collection, with plastics and microplastics floating on and below the surface of swirling ocean currents between California and Hawaii in an area of about 1.6 million square kilometers (617,763 square miles), although its size is not fixed. These patches are less like islands of trash and, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, more like flecks of microplastic pepper swirling around an ocean soup. Even some promising solutions are inadequate for combating marine pollution. So-called “biodegradable” plastics often break down only at temperatures higher than will ever be reached in the ocean.
(text source: National Geographic)

Note from Buoy:
Humans have made the oceans the biggest dumpster on our Planet. Eighty million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans every year, and every year more than 100.000 marine mammals die from plastic ingestion.

What most people don’t appreciate is how much human existence depends on the health of our oceans.

People often refer to the rainforests as the lungs of our Planet. The rainforests play an important role in weather regulation but recent studies discovered that the largest forests produce only as much oxygen as the forest needs for itself.

So where then does the oxygen we breathe come from? From the oceans! It is estimated that up to 80% of the oxygen we breathe is generated by the oceans—produced through photosynthesis by plants such as kelp, algal plankton and most of all by phytoplankton.

Since the 1950’s, phytoplankton populations declined by an estimated 40%. We still don’t know the effect of micro-plastics on these organisms but we had better make sure that we protect this fragile ecosystem.

Agriculture, car tires, the clothing industry, oil companies, those are the biggest polluters of the oceans, so, as you can see, we all are a part of this. Even if you don’t live anywhere close to an ocean, whatever you throw on the street is carried by rain and wind into the next storm drain, into the sewer system, into the next river, and finally into the ocean!

Researchers were stunned how certain areas in the oceans recovered extremely fast during the Covid19 lockdown, less boat traffic, no tourism. This gives hope! We’re close to an irreversible tipping point with no return, but we still can change things for the good. Only, we have to act fast!

There are solutions for everything, we just have to put more effort into it and start to regulate and reduce the impact of our way of consumption on all levels. Buy clothes that last longer, avoid fast fashion, chose organic cotton if available, drive a smaller car, buy food from local organic and regenerative farming, reduce the consumption of red meat….

It comes with compromises and slightly less convenient lifestyles but if we refuse to act, our convenient lifestyle will come to an end even faster.

On our website, we will show you the beauty of the world below the surface, a world that covers 70% of our planet, but which we mostly ignore. We know more about every single planet in our solar system than we do about our oceans. New species are discovered almost every day. Once you dive below the surface, believe me, you become addicted to it and want to know everything about it. The ocean is the most fascinating place on Earth, so rich in life and so fragile, please join us in doing our best to preserve what is still intact.

Ocean currents carry floating debris to the far corners of the world.


Plastic is dead!
Long live plastic!

Why would anybody say something like this?
Plastic is the devil, right?
Maybe not so fast, lets talk about different plastics and why recycled plastic is a better choice to all other materials on the market.

We divide plastic in 7 groups.

Group 1-6 are very specific kinds of plastics with very little variations and therefore all recyclable.
Group 7 labels all other plastics that are not recyclable, there are more than 2000 different variations of plastics in this group with divers chemical components that can’t be traced or separated from each other. All plastics in this group end up in landfills or are incinerated.
If possible we should avoid any plastics of this group.

When we look at group 1-6, only 3 of those are commonly recycled.

  • No:1 (PET or PETE) disposable water bottles and certain food packagings
  • No:2 (HDPE) Milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles
  • No:5 (PP) food packagings, divers consumer products

In the USA mainly only No:1 and 2 are recycled, No:5 very little and the others not at all. Therefore only 9% of all plastics are recycled in the US.
Certain European countries have much higher numbers but also mainly for these 3 kinds of plastics.
The other plastics are not recycled because it is not profitable. Virgin plastic production is still cheaper unfortunately.

Until last year most of the non-recycled plastics were shipped to China and surrounding Asian countries. Which is the reason why a large percentage of plastics that entered the oceans got there from Asian rivers.
Since most countries banned the import of American and European waste, new recycling infrastructures had to be developed.

Buoy uses HDPE because it is the safest of all plastics. It is the only plastic that does not leach any chemicals into your food or beverage. It is heat resistant, resistant to UV-light and has an excellent resistance to chemicals.

Many of the reusable water bottles that are made of plastic are made of Tritan plastic. A hard and transparent plastic that falls under category no:7. Even though most companies claim that their products are recyclable, they won’t be.

Note from Buoy:

What is needed are regulation from the government to tackle the plastic problem.

Companies should only be allowed to use plastics that are recyclable in the regular curbside recycling stream and they should aim for 100% recycled materials in general.

By recycling plastic we reduce the carbon footprint by 80% compared to virgin plastic production and even more compared to stainless steel or aluminum.

The world produced so much plastic that we don’t need to produce any virgin plastics for a very long time. Problem: the oil-lobby. Virgin plastic production represents 8% of the global fossil fuel industry, they are not willing to give this up so easily.

As a consumer we need to make pressure on companies and stores. Refuse plastic bags, don’t order food from restaurants using foam containers, don’t get your coffee in a disposable cup…. the list is long but every small step helps.


Ocean bound plastic:

Beach and ocean cleanings are important and great efforts!

But the one thing we have to do first, is to stop the flow of plastic into the oceans!

We need to intercept plastic in rivers before it can enter the oceans, collect trash in coastal regions with poor or no waste management and educate local populations about the environmental impact of ocean pollution.

We partnered with a recycling company in Los Angeles that does exactly this, they are active in different countries such as Haiti and Mexico and recover the so called ocean bound plastic so we and other companies can recycle it into new products.

They build infrastructure in those regions, give work to locals and prevent the plastic from going into the ocean.

This plastic is much more expensive for us to use but it is essential for Buoy to have the best possible impact on the environment with our products and our supply chain.


Stainless Steel – reusable water bottles:

Extraction, processing:

Producing stainless steel requires a global supply chain involving more than 1400 steps, each with its own impact on the environment. For example, the mining of chromium ore, an essential component of stainless steel, can expose workers to a heightened risk of cancer.

The ores have to be processed to extract useful metal. This usually involves energy-intensive heating, a process that not only requires enormous amounts of fossil fuel but also releases greenhouse gases, carcinogens, particulates and toxic material into the air, water and soil.


Making stainless steel, which requires the processing of nickel and chromium ores, results in about 10 times more pollution than regular steel. But if the steel mills use recycled iron, instead of newly mined pig iron, the environmental health impact can be reduced by 10 to 15 percent.

In addition, simple innovations like a lighter single -wall design, rather than the double walls typically found in insulated bottles, can reduce the ecological impact by about 35 percent.


The bottle’s journey from factory to distribution center to you uses up oil and energy and results in particulates, greenhouse gases and other emissions.

In order to minimize the impact on the environment due to transportation, it is better to prioritize a locally produced product.


Almost all companies selling stainless steel bottles today claim that their product is recyclable.

As a matter of fact, stainless steel is 100% recyclable if it gets to a specialized steel recycler.

If you dispose your bottle in your recycling bin, it won’t be recycled. The machines of the regular curbside recycling stream cannot crush and process those bottles and therefor your bottle will go to landfill where it will rotten forever.

A note from Buoy:

Brands selling stainless steel bottles should make sure that their factory uses mainly recycled stainless steel and should give the customer the opportunity to send their old products back to the brand or help them to direct them to a steel recycler.

All brands advertise that stainless steel is a sustainable material. Unfortunately it is a fact that stainless steel has the largest carbon footprint of all materials on the market and none of the mayor brands care about what happens to their products at the end of its life.

Some of these brands got official green-stamps by claiming being a carbon neutral company.

And this only by paying another company to plants trees for them on another continent, as if doing something good somewhere would erase the damage done by the production process of your product?

(Text source: New York Times – How green is my bottle)



Aluminum is a material that is endlessly recyclable but it is not food safe.

Any can of food or beverage you buy has a plastic lining inside.

But the biggest problem is the mining process and the manufacturing of aluminum.

The raw material needed for aluminum extraction is called bauxite. It usually occur in horizontal layers close to the surface and is primarily located in tropical and subtropical regions (Australia, China, Brazil, Guinea and India).

Most of the bauxite in America has to be imported.

Mining bauxite is a dirty destructive process.

It requires stripping everything off the surface of the land: trees, plants, flowers, animals and topsoil. It leaves large landscapes devastated for generations. Clearing the land contributes to rainforest deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Bare land does not retain rainfall and causes erosion, sedimentation built up in rivers and streams, drinking water pollution and farmland degradation.

Those ecosystems developed over thousands of years can never be restored again.

The filtering process of aluminum oxide, that requires extremely high temperatures and energy consumption, leaves behind a toxic sludge and may contain radioactive materials and heavy metals. The high ph of the red mud is strong enough to kill plants, animals and burn airways if breathed in. Eventually the red mud dries out and becomes a toxic landfill.

Accidents occur from time to time in Brazil and also recently in Hungary where dams of waste water lakes broke and contaminated huge areas, rivers and land and killed all living things on its way, including humans. (see images)

The aluminum production requires massive amounts of electricity and water.

Electricity is mainly produced by coal or natural gas.

The so called smelting process emits greenhouse gases and toxins including carbon dioxide, fluoride, sulphur dioxide, dust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and toxic effluents.

The bottom line is that mining and refining bauxite and smelting aluminum is immensely energy intensive, uses large amounts of water and generates air, water and soil pollution. Making aluminum is harmful to the environment and the people who live near mining, refining or smelting operations.

Note from Buoy:

As bad as the mining and manufacturing of aluminum is, it is an easy to recycle material.

about 50% of all aluminum is recycled today.

The problem with, for example, water companies proposing aluminum bottles instead of plastic bottles is that they use virgin materials. It would be acceptable if they would use 100% recycled aluminum but using virgin aluminum is much worse than using virgin plastic.


Bio plastics

Bio plastics are regular plastics just not made from fossil-fuels but mainly from so called “renewable” resources such as sugarcane, corn starch, cassava and others.

Most of the bio plastics contain in addition a mix of 20% to 30% of oil-based polymers.

These plastics are fabricated in labs the same way oil-based polymers are.

Most bio plastics are not biodegradable, which means they need as much time to decompose in a landfills as oil-based plastics.

The biggest problem with bio plastics is that they compete with human food-production. Valuable farmland has to be converted for plastic production and more forests have to be cut down.

Huge amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides are used and add to the already huge environmental impact.

Bio-degradable plastics:

Biodegradable means that a chemical component was added to a oil- or plant based plastic so it decomposes faster in landfills. The plastic still has the same impact on the environment.

Compostable plastics:

These are bio-based plastics that originate from plant material such as sugarcane, corn starch and wheat. These plastics require oxygen, water, heat and humidity to break down and must be processed in industrial composting facilities. Those facilities are very limited (in the US only a few states have them). As a result, most of the compostable plastics end up in landfills where they might never break down. Compostable plastics releases gases that contribute to global warming, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), a gas 80 times more harmful as CO2!

note from Buoy:

We already exploited the planet to the maximum, every new field used for farming pushes back our few remaining forests, especially the rainforests in Brazil and Indonesia. Some companies argue that their sugarcane plantation is far away from the rainforest but it doesn’t matter where in Brazil you plant your crops, it always will push into the forest.

Also when crops aren’t planted for consumption, the use of pesticides is much higher and the use of fertilizers contaminates our groundwater, rivers and changes the acid level of our oceans which leads to coral- and fish-dying.

A recent research found extremely high toxic and dangerous components for humans in natural fiber food packagings (CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/06/health/toxic-food-wrappers-pfas-wellness/index.html ).

Bio plastics often contaminates whole patches of recyclable material when disposed into the recycling bin.

We shouldn’t aim to replace one disposable plastic with another disposable one!

We need to create circular economies (closed recycling loops) including all food-packagings.

Bio- and compostable plastics are just another excuse for companies to do business as usually and not to be responsible for their waste.