It is a fact that around 90% of the world’s plastic waste ends up in the ocean and if this percentage goes unchanged, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. Therefore, it is left to private organisations to introduce new approaches to manage the problem and in this article, we will take a look at 5 start ups and green innovators who have launched creative solutions to deal with the plastic pollution in our seas.
#1: Oceanographer Maria-Luiza Pedrotti is identifying plastic-eating bacteria
In 2016, researchers discovered the first bacterium that was naturally evolved to eat plastic. Based on this discovery, researchers and organisations now investigate the idea of using bacteria to break down plastics in the sea.
Oceanographer Maria-Luiza Pedrotti, currently working on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch project, has generated a lot of interest thanks to her research on the complex interaction between plastics and plastic-associated marine microbial communities as well as the large scale application of this interaction to oceans.
#2: Renewlogy is converting plastic into usable fuel
Renewlogy is Utah-based profitable business that keeps plastic out of the landfills and produces usable fuel. The creators of Renewlogy technology have designed a recycling system that can be built on-site, specific to the needs of the waste management company, with no pollution.
Renewlogy’s systems, powered by solar panels, can process up to 10 tons of plastic waste – collected at sea or from beach cleanups – daily and turn it into low-sulfur fuel without the need for additional transportation costs and the fuel emissions that go along with it.
#3: Clear Blue Sea is implementing robotic technology to tackle the problem of ocean plastic pollution
Clear Blue Sea is a non-profit organisation that has developed innovative robotic technology that allow autonomous ocean clean-up of harmful plastics from the ocean.
Clear Blue Sea’s innovation is FRED – the Floating Robot for Eliminating Debris. FRED is a solar powered marine vessel capable of harvesting floating marine debris.
Clear Blue Sea is a member of The Maritime Alliance (TMA) and a chosen member company participating in the San Diego-based Blue Tech Incubator (BTI), sponsored by The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, The City of San Diego, Dentons, and TMA. The BTI is located in Dentons Law Offices in the UTC area of San Diego.
#4: The Seabin project is installing floating rubbish bins
The Australian based Seabin Project is building floating rubbish bin devices to free the oceans of plastic bags, bottles, styrofoam, and other debris.
The V5 Seabin unit is a “trash skimmer” designed to be installed in the water of Marinas, Yacht Clubs, Ports and any water body with a calm environment and suitable services available. These units act as floating rubbish bins skimming the surface of the water by pumping water into the device. The Seabin V5 can intercept floating debris, macro and micro plastics and even micro fibres with an additional filter. The Seabin V5 is easily equipped with oil absorbent pads able to absorb petroleum-based surface oils and detergent predominant in most marinas around the world.
#5: The Bubble Barrier is cleaning up rivers with bubbles
The Netherlands based Bubble Barrier creates a bubble screen by pumping air through a tube with holes located on the bottom of the waterway. This upward flow of the bubble barrier brings waste to the surface of the water. When placed diagonally, the natural current is used to guide the plastic on the riverside, which makes it accessible for collection and accessible removal. The system also has little effect on fish and actually increases oxygen levels, which stimulates the ecosystem.
The Great Bubble Barrier is based on existing technology, which is used in the oil industry and for separating fresh and salt water and is easy to apply. This design is used in both the largest rivers and smaller canals and channels. The organisation’s goal is to place The Great Bubble Barrier in smart locations so that it can stop plastic pollution in rivers at its source and keep plastic out of the oceans.