An East Midlands manufacturer has returned from a recent expedition to Antarctica to highlight the plight of Earth’s precious ecosystems and encourage others to find sustainable solutions.

The business designs and makes outdoor furniture from 100% recycled plastic and is now sharing best practice and spreading the word about the value of the circular economy following the recent expedition. Last year alone, it prevented 350 tonnes of plastic waste from reaching the world’s rivers and oceans.

The team at TDP was keen to see for themselves the impact human activity is having on marine ecosystems and joined 23 scientists on a fact-finding expedition to Antarctica. The vessel they travelled on is a designated weather station with specialist equipment on board to analyse sea water and measure levels of microplastics. The impact of these particles is felt across the world’s oceans, and they are broken down so small that they even make their way into the water cycle through evaporation.

TDP’s Managing Director Rob Barlow said: “We have to find more sustainable ways of doing business. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved in recycling plastic and keeping it out of our oceans but our recent trip to Antarctica highlighted just how much more there is to be done to protect our precious planet.”

TDP is a pioneer in sustainable production. Plastic waste disposed of via the nation’s recycling bins, is made into profiles, which resemble planks made from timber. The company then uses these profiles to design and manufacture a range of products ranging from chairs, tables and benches to planters and bird boxes.

In 2021, TDP’s commitment to the circular economy redirected 8,029 cubic metres of plastic waste and prevented 2.1m tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

The family business is passionate about putting plastic waste to good use and preventing it from damaging the environment. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), a staggering eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. As highlighted by David Attenborough’s The Blue Planet TV series, the consequences for marine life are devastating.