Inspiration Projects

The Ocean Cleanup: Capturing Plastics with Passive Design

MAKER: Boyan Slat and the Ocean Cleanup Foundation 

CHALLENGE: Millions of tons of plastic are collecting in our oceans, resulting in damaged ecosystems and corrupted food chains. The Great Pacific garbage patch, located within the North Pacific Gyre, is estimated to be as much as 15,000,000 square kilometers in size. A traditional cleanup approach is estimated to take thousands of years to complete and billions of dollars.

SOLUTION: Boyan Slat has designed a cleanup approach that uses natural ocean currents and winds to passively transport plastic towards a collection platform. It is completely independent of external energy sources, and is designed to be applied on any scale–from lakes to oceans. The harvested plastic will be recycled and sold as a semi-finished product directly to B2C companies as a way to make the operation financially self-sustaining.

RESULTS:The proposed cleanup approach is expected to remove almost half of the plastic in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in only 10 years.


Note: Project summary sourced from excerpts from The Ocean Cleanup’s website.

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