Societal pressure to use fewer and more sustainable materials is growing, as is the amount of waste in the oceans. Luckily, some companies are actively fighting the plastic soup and are embracing the waste as a valuable raw material. We have listed the five most striking projects against plastics.
#1 Shoreliner: tackling pollution in ports
Consultancy and engineering firm Tauw developed the Shoreliner for the Port of Rotterdam Authority. This plastic collection system prevents pollution in the ports and thus prevents floating waste from ending up in the sea. It is a floating system of styrofoam with a filter cloth around it, which goes into the water up to 50 centimeters deep. The collected plastic is stored in a 25 square meter collection unit and subsequently can be recycled. After the Shoreliner has done its job, the smaller pieces of waste are fished out of the water with a fine-mesh net.
Also read: The hidden dangers of microplastics
#2 The Great Bubble Barrier: turning off the plastic tap
The mountain of waste in the oceans largely starts in the rivers. The Great Bubble Barrier wants to turn off that tap. The company launched a system in which a screen of air bubbles traps waste in the rivers before it reaches the sea. A tube with holes is placed at the bottom, through which air is pumped.
Source: The Great Bubble Barrier
#3 The Ocean Cleanup: returning clean oceans
Alongside stopping plastic at the source, they are cleaning what is already out there. To eventually return to clean oceans. This is perhaps the best-known example of plastic soup control. Initiator Boyan Slat developed a 600-meter-long safety net that catches thousands of kilograms of ocean plastic as it moves along the natural currents of the ocean. After a failed mission in 2018, 'The Ocean Cleanup' managed to get the plastic catch ashore for the first time at the end of 2019. It is inspiring to note that they are using natural resources to solve the mess we are creating on this planet. Want to find out more about The Ocean Cleanup tackling the problem of plastic pollution? Watch the video below.
Source: The Ocean Cleanup
#4 VanPlestik: recycling with a 3D-printer
With the use of a 3D printer, VanPlestik makes circular products from plastic waste. Therefore, enabling local recycling. The company is working on test cases for HEMA and Conscious Hotel, among others, to convert residual flows into high-quality products. VanPlestik products are also for sale in the Makerstore in Amsterdam. The biggest 3D printed statue? That is made by VanPlestik, commissioned for Peter Smith they have printed a 12-meter-long plastic version of Madonna.
Photo: plastic version of Madonna made from plastic waste out of oceans (VanPlestik).
#5 Robotfish: innovative technique getting rid of microplastics
It is very difficult to get hold of small plastic particles as they settle in every nook and cranny on the bottom of seas, rivers and ports. Chinese researchers have therefore developed a light-activated fishing robot that swims around and picks up and takes microplastics with it, the scientists write in the scientific journal Nano Letters of ACS. The robot moves at 2.67 body lengths per second. It absorbs microplastics and takes it elsewhere, ready to be cleaned up. It is an innovative way of getting rid of microplastics, but you will need many robots to clean large amounts of microplastics.
Source: Nano Letters
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