Sustainability Problem: With the increasing worldwide population, the amount of plastic waste generated and landing up in the oceans is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. And not only is plastic waste a threat to marine life, but the current processes for collecting ocean trash is dispersed and energy intensive.
Technology: A non-profit from the Netherlands called the Ocean Cleanup Foundation may have found a solution for this with a 238 foot floating barrier to collect ocean trash such as bottles and bags. While still early, the organization has already began testing of a 100foot version of the barrier, which will include evaluation of the impact to the ocean ecosystem. The system aims to be a passive approach to collecting the plastic trash through currents without harming the marine life in the process, and has the benefit of being low maintenance and energy intensive to operate. The trash collected by the barrier will be recycled. If it proves successful, the plan is to install the large version of the barrier in the North Pacific in 2020.
Stakeholders: Consumers, Governments, Offshore operations, Plastics manufacturers, Marine institutions
Implementation: (1) Identify top offshore operations companies and marine institutes to create partnership opportunities for piloting the MVP technology. (2) Evaluate financing options such as opportunity size of recyclable plastic gathered in the pilot (and in future production version) that can be re-used and sold for profit to support the program. (3) Evaluate effectiveness and technology enhancement areas from the pilot, depending on key factors such as waste collected, impact to marine ecosystem, speed, coverage, etc. (4) Work with governmental organizations to determine and evaluate 2020 production plans for initial launch of the product after addition of the technology enhancements based on the trial.
mst2135 june 30, 2016