The Dutch are perhaps known for their engineering expertise when it comes to water-related subjects – assuming you are aware that the entirety of Netherlands is essentially kept dry by a ginormous dam, a truly amazing engineering feat? – and the country’s latest project is no different. Titled ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ (not so imaginative, we must admit), the recent weeks have marked its official launch and the world should really be grateful for the European philanthropists.
Dubbed the largest ever ocean clean-up, the not-for-profit organisation is aiming to remove large-scale amounts of plastic from the Pacific Ocean. The Dutch organisation’s system essentially includes a very long U-shaped barrier that floats atop the sea to capture floating plastic as it passes. A simple idea, the organisation’s CEO is Boyan Slat and the ultimate goal is to attempt to capture upward of 50% of the world-renown Pacific’s ‘Garbage Patch’ within five years, and thereafter, 90% by 2040. In order to achieve such goals, the ambitious team would need to gather about 14,000 tonnes per year, so this is no small operation.
Of course with after-processing to be involved, such a project really opens up opportunities for Circular Economy driven brands, projects and companies. Why process new plastic when you can re-use old material? In theory, this is the recycling and re-using of plastic at a scale never seen before.
Beginning the Ocean Cleanup operation by setting off from San Francisco Bay (USA), the total length of the rubber barrier (ironic material choice, we know) is 600 metres long and carries a 3 metre skirt which drags beneath. Upon the barrier being towed to its destination, the system is then designed to be propelled by wind and waves to energy-free gather it’s plastic. As the organisation explains, “…due to its shape, the debris will be funnelled to the centre of the system. Moving slightly faster than the plastic, the system will act like a giant Pac-Man, skimming the surface of the ocean.”
Discover more about the organisation online at: TheOceanCleanup.com
The Impetus To Become SustainableRecently documenting brand's Circular Economy efforts such as that of Parley for the Oceans and Soma, Adidas, Stella McCartney and more, such an impetus to become sustainable is really gaining traction, which is of course, great news!
(Photography Credit : The Ocean Cleanup)