Everyone seems to care about plastic pollution. And there`s a good reason for that: the psychological aspect. Most people find it nauseating that sea turtles are being strangled to death by fishing gear, plastic bags, and straws.
Therefore, there is an industry trying to desperately remove our ocean trash. Needless to say, this is a very big task. Big tasks tend to be solved by innovative and smart ideas. In this article, we will look further into interesting ways that companies and people have worked to empty the ocean for plastic.
#1: The Ocean Cleanup: Collecting Trash
The world’s biggest “plastic ocean cleanup” organization is called The Ocean Cleanup. If you have ever seen newspaper articles with headlines such as “this company aim to remove 90 % of all ocean plastic by 2050”, it`s probably about TOC.
Boyan Slat is a name that went viral back in 2013. He is the Dutch-born founder of The Ocean Cleanup. What was remarkable back then was a combination of his young age (19 years old) and his ambitious goals. Fast forward 7 years, and you can see that his invention already starts to pay off.
What is their innovative solution?
A big floating device that collects all the trash that is floating about on the ocean surface. The product is called “System 0001“. If you want to understand how the device work, I would strongly recommend this Youtube video:
#2: The Ocean Cleanup: Making products of Ocean Trash
TOC does not only collect an awful amount of trash from the oceans. They are also using plastic to create new and innovative products. This video tells you everything you need to know about their plans for the future:
As one person said in the comment section:
” The world needs to stop producing single-use plastic.
All new plastic products need to be made from recycled materials.
All plastic needs to be recycled. ”
#3: Plastic Pollution Coalition
Wouldn`t it be a good idea to make an organization for all profit-seeking companies that want to fight ocean plastic?
It would. It has already been made. Plastic Pollution Coalition is, according to their website, “a growing global alliance of more than 1,000 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 60 countries working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, waterways, the ocean, and the environment. ”
One thing is to write fluffy words on your website. Everyone can do that (even me..). However, what has the organization achieved?
Top achievements from Plastic Pollution Coalition
– Organize a common platform for more than 1000 companies. They have all pledged to work towards less plastic pollution (by doing different types of initiatives).
– Through aggressive lobbyism, the organization has reduced the number of schools in the US that gives out single-use plastic cutlery.
– Already back in 2010, they decided to run a campaign to ban all plastic bags globally. As we already know, that was not very successful. However, I love that they aim high.
#4: Seacirc Certification Program: How to “force” businesses to reduce their plastic consumption
Not all heroes wear capes. Seacirc is a business made by two students from Norway that built the business upon the frustration of all the ocean plastic that was floating about. By living in Northern Norway, they would be able to see with their own eyes that beautiful nature was slowly destroyed by plastic pollution.
What is Seacirc and what do they do to minimize plastic pollution?
This was a question I asked them when I interviewed the girls about a year ago. This is their answer:
“Seacirc’s aim is to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by businesses by implementing concrete and measurable tools on how to go plastic-free. This will be done through our plastic-free certification program which will reward our clients with the Seacirc Certified plastic-free label once completed. ”
If you are curious and want to learn more about them, feel free to click this link.
#5: Ocean Conservancy: The Annual Beach Cleanup
Plastic does not only influence sea creatures. Trust me: it will not take you more than a couple of minutes to find some plastic in any of the beaches around the world. Which is super sad. But also an opportunity for organizations like Ocean Conservancy to be able to educate people about this huge problem.
What is “The Annual Beach Cleanup”?
The name refers to a specific date each year where “the whole world” gathers to physically clean up plastic from beaches. Volunteers register their local beach on a map on their website, and other people might join to give a helping hand.
This practice is a perfect example of how organizations can create a platform where people willingly work towards a better world. Beach cleanups are not only symbolic. They also contribute to a clean and safe play zone for kids.
Video: The Big Coastal Cleanup on National Geographic
National Geographic uploaded a short video from the beach cleanup back in 2009. Since then, the movement has grown a lot:
As you can see, there are two ways that companies and organizations can fight plastic pollution. You can either try to limit the amount of plastic that is being produced and sold. The other way to solve the problem is to “fix what is already broken”, meaning that you will find ways to gather plastic from the sea. Both methods are highly efficient if they are done in the right way.
A lot has been done, but there is so much more to do. According to Plastic-pollution.org, about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our ocean every year. That is massive.
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