Plastic Ocean: The Clean Up

An innovative new initiative aimed at cleaning up the scourge of plastic dumped in our oceans has been launched by the non-profit organisation, Ocean Cleanup, in an effort to reduce a staggering 1.8 TRILLION pieces of plastic rubbish floating in the sea, weighing an estimated total of 150 million tons.

The major environmental initiative has begun in the United States, at San Francisco Bay - the gateway to a stretch of ocean labelled the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Plastic Ocean

© Richard Carey / © somchairakin / Adobe Stock

The technology comprises a 2,000ft-long floating pipe that has been sent on the first mission of its kind to clean up the giant floating rubbish dump stretching between San Franciso and Hawaii. The patch is the largest of five similar islands of plastic waste across the earth's oceans and is twice the size of Texas.

Considering Texas measures 268,597 square miles, this gives people an idea of the sheer magnitude of the plastic waste problem and why the rising tide of rubbish must be stopped now before it damages our marine environment irreparably.

The plastic-catcher

The giant pipe being used in the clean-up operation is called System 001 - nicknamed "Wilson" - and is the brainchild of Dutch inventor and entrepreneur Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of Ocean Cleanup. Now aged 24, he came up with the idea for the apparatus when he was only 16 years old.

The Ocean Cleanup technology was put into production after Slat founded the organisation in 2013 and spearheaded five years' dedicated fundraising. Slat and the team raised an amazing $35 million to make his environmental dream a reality.

Money was raised by crowdfunding campaigns and through donations from major donors, such as American billionaire internet entrepreneur Marc Benioff and fellow American billionaire Peter Thiel, co-founder of the PayPal online payments system.

Plastic recycling

System 001 also includes a 600-metre long float, featuring a 3-metre skirt, with the design enabling it to corral plastic and other debris together and keep it enclosed in one place. The rubbish will then be removed by a ship (a kind of floating bin lorry) which will be sent out every couple of months.

Plastic will be returned to the shore, where it will be sorted and recycled to make new products. The aim of the project is to clean up 50% of ocean plastic within five years.

Scientists estimate the amount of plastic in the ocean will triple over the next decade alone unless urgent measures are taken, jeopardising the safety of marine life, sea-based industries such as tourism and fishing and also people's health, as the plastic can end up being eaten by fish and ultimately tainting the food we eat.

System 001 set out on its journey to the heart of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in September and is expected to arrive at its destination on Tuesday 23rd October, when the great clean-up operation will officially begin.

Although the project is currently taking place off the coast of the United States, environmental campaigners hope the system can be brought to the UK too. Future plans include creating an additional 60 systems by 2021.

UK Plastics Pact

In the UK, responsible companies are already reusing plastic materials and selling recycling products to help the environment.

Many companies, including Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola and Asda, trade associations and campaigners have joined forces with the government to form the UK Plastics Pact. It's aimed at making people re-think the way they use plastic and its dangerous impact on the environment if it's not disposed of properly and recycled.

Statistics show each person in the UK creates an average of around 76kg, or 167lbs, of plastic waste per year. This compares with US citizens who produce around 120kg of plastic waste per person per year.

As a responsible supplier of plastic containers, Solent Plastics understands the importance of recycling plastic products. We do our utmost to care for the environment, reusing plastic materials and selling recycling products.

We stock a range of recycling storage and plastic waste bins to help customers' recycling efforts at school, at work and in the home. Many bins are colour-coded to make recycling simpler.

We also sell our own range of products made from recycled plastic, such as our ECO recycled mobile plastic storage tanks. The range is of the same high quality as our other products, but it offers savings for customers.

It's a fact of life in the modern world that most people will use plastic at some point in their home and workplace. When you come to dispose of old plastic items, including food storage containers, straws and earbuds (some of the most widely used plastic items), make sure you dispose of them properly.

Join Solent Plastics and other responsible companies and become part of the solution, rather than the problem. Give us a call on 01794 514478 or email sales@solentplastics.co.uk for further information on responsible plastic products and recycling.