Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How Pharrell Williams’ Bionic Yarn is Making an Impact

Did you know that yarn can be made from plastic from the ocean? See how Pharrell Williams is helping the environment through Bionic Yarn.

Pharrell Williams is making people feel happy all over the world with his music. Through breaking records and standing up for what he believes in, it seems like Pharrell Williams is making sure his voice is heard and making change happen. Does his work also include saving our environment from pollution? As a matter of fact, yes, through bionic yarn. What is bionic yarn you ask? You’ll have to read on to find out.

Music Career

Pharrell Williams first debuted in the music scene as a part of a duo known as, The Neptunes in the 1990s. Then he joined the band N.E.R.D. as their lead vocalist. In 2006, he released his first solo album, In My Mind.

Pharrell Williams has won 13 Grammy Awards and continues to make music ranging from feel-good dance tracks to songs with a deeper meaning. His song, “Freedom” shows him in the middle of different scenes that flash by such as slaves working, child laborers, and women dressed up.

Not only does it focus on those scenes, but also ones that seem impossible, but showcase freedom. One of those scenes is an astronaut on Earth floating around like he’s still weightless. We’re reminded that we are all supposed to be free.

Music isn’t the only way Pharrell Williams is reaching out to people.

From One Hand to AnOTHER

In 2008, Williams founded From One Hand to AnOTHER (FOHTA) to help support his Pharrell Williams Resource Centers’ learning programs. This was developed to serve youth in at-risk communities throughout the country. Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed. That’s why program initiatives such as Williams’ are imperative to our communities. There are 74.2 million people under 18 in the United States. Nearly 40% of children in the United States live in low-income families. There are many positive outcomes to having youth learning programs.

To go off of the message of being free and helping out others, shouldn’t our oceans also be free of plastic and other pollution? To combat this problem, the idea of making yarn out of recycled plastics all the while helping communities in need was born. That idea? Bionic Yarn.

Bionic Beginnings

First off, Bionic Yarn was founded and headquartered in NYC in 2010 by Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs, and Pharrell as the creative director, Bionic Yarn operates in North America, Asia, and Central America. It’s yarn made from plastic gathered from the ocean. Another innovative way to free our oceans of plastic while adding purpose to the discarded plastics. On the website, they take you through how they used the yarn to make apparel, footwear, and bags.

Additionally, they also have a section that talks about the different furniture pieces that have been made with this yarn. Evidently, this brings up a great point as to how much waste comes from our furniture? Therefore, it’s great that Bionic Yarn is doing its part to decrease the waste coming from furniture.

Importantly, the brand’s mission is to unite leading brands to remove plastic from the oceans. Since they’re involved in the entire process, all materials are traceable so you can know where your products’ materials came from. Truly, this is a pretty neat feature.

Shouldn’t this magnificent whale shark be able to eat without having to ingest plastic?

The Work

Bionic Yarn has also set up plastic recovery infrastructure around the coastlines of communities in need to provide jobs and waste management to their area.

In addition, over the span of 2 years, the company has turned 7 million plastic bottles into clothing.

Besides the other features, the site broke down each of the 8 steps it takes to make these materials:

1: Community outreach and infrastructure- They reach out to communities who need help and form a partnership with the people. They always get the community’s permission before setting anything up.

2: Collection– This part is broken into three areas like self-serve recycling stations, direct pick-up for businesses, and coastal cleanups.

3: Trucking and Transport– By utilizing boats, 4-wheelers, and trucking routes they can ensure to reach every pick-up point.

4: Processing– This entails sorting the plastics out by color, material, compacting, grinding, and warehousing.

5: Pelletizing– Waste is cleaned of contaminants, melted together, and put through a machine that binds it together. They equate this process to making hand-made spaghetti.

6: Yarn and textiles– Spun into long pieces of yarn.

7: Plastic solids– They repurpose the leftover pieces.

8: Fabrication– The yarn is all ready for you to be creative with and make something for yourself or a loved one.

“It’s a part of sustainability, and the cause is to never throw anything into the ocean again.”

Pharrell Williams

Raw for the Oceans

Afterward, Pharrell also partnered with G-Star Raw and Parley for the Oceans for a “Raw for the Oceans” collaboration for a fall/ winter collection made out of ocean plastic. Some clothes from this line are still available for purchase on the G-Star Raw website. Not to mention, they laid out how they make sure sustainability is a part of their brand by using sustainable materials and to help make fashion more circular.

Clean Oceans For All

The best part is that since Pharrell is selling the materials, and not a full product, he’s promoting creativity and freedom to take these materials and make anything you want out of it. That’s a really neat idea that I haven’t seen done.

Pharrell is a person who has deeply rooted core beliefs that helping others is the name of the game. This is what inspires and fuels his music, his collaborative ventures, and his entrepreneurial spirit. He actively seeks change, embraces critical questioning, innovation and continually works on service and improvement. 

Whether you’re a celebrity or not, being able to come up with new innovative ideas on how we can all be more sustainable can bring us all together under the common goal of helping our planet and bettering ourselves. That also means that this whale shark can swim through a clean ocean.


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