Out of the Water - Into the Classroom

Since 2021, there have been book covers made from recycled plastic that feel like linen. "The Magic Suitcase" - a gift from a Basel Rotary Club to all third-grade schoolchildren in the Canton of Basel-Stadt - was the very first book worldwide to be produced with this revolutionary cover material.

The family-owned company Winter & Company has been known for generations for innovative and high-quality cover materials. A fabric made from plastic that feels and looks like textile is itself an innovation. If the raw material is predominantly from recycled beverage bottles, the material also carries a strong message. It was precisely this message that convinced the creators of the Basel early reading book "The Magic Suitcase - Meret and Tim Discover Basel". Their book gift should have inner and outer values. For example, by being exciting to read and also made from sustainable materials.

Several forward-thinking ideas have come together:

The company TideOcean (#tide), in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Rapperswil, has developed a process to turn shredded plastic into raw materials such as yarn for new products. This recycled yarn is woven so that it can be used for a variety of durable, high-quality products, including book covers.

TideOcean is also involved in Southeast Asia to ensure that local fishermen are paid for plastic fishing and sorting. The Jan & Oscar Foundation from Aran (CH) is responsible on-site for processing the plastic and monitoring the working conditions and training of the employees. They thus create an understanding among the local population of the value of the raw material plastic.


Garn aus Ozeanplastik

And this is how the new Basel early reading book found its way to the bookworms and reading enthusiasts in the Canton of Basel-Stadt:

On the first day of school after the autumn break, all primary school buildings were supplied by bicycle courier. The distribution within the classrooms was organized by the teachers, such as here at Theodorsschulhaus:

Verteilung Lesebuch

The association Mare Nostrum places importance on presenting projects and ideas that contribute to value creation here in Switzerland as well. Clearing the seas and waters of plastic waste is more than just a good deed in a distant land. The raw material plastic is versatile, indispensable, and valuable, even here with us. Innovative ideas, new technologies, and intelligent business models have the potential to make plastic fishing financially attractive.

For more information on the topic of upcycling plastic waste, you can find examples here: