A new project helps clean up the oceans with a floating debris interception device.
We have seen many ideas for how to clean up waste, from an aqua drone that ‘swallows’ floating rubbish to a IoT garbage bin that automatically sorts waste and collects data. But the ocean remains one area in need of more ideas for cleanup. The latest solution comes from Australia. While preparing for a regatta, Andrew ‘Turtle’ Turton had an idea: “If we can have a rubbish bin on land then why not have one in the water?” Together with surfer and product designer Pete Ceglinski, Turtle founded the Seabin Project to try and find an answer to this question. The two designed and built the Seabin – a floating trash can. Water and litter is sucked into the Seabin, then the water is pumped back out, leaving the litter trapped in a catch bag for collection and disposal. It can collect 1.5kg of debris a day, and holds up to 12kg before it needs emptying.
The Seabin is designed to be used in areas such as marinas, ports, and yacht clubs where floating debris tends to collect. The Seabin is currently being trialled in Portsmouth Harbor, in the UK. At GBP 3,000 each, the Seabins are not cheap, but they do reduce the amount of labor needed to clean the water. The catch bag is made from natural fibres, and the inventors hope to eventually power the Seabin’s pumps with alternative sources of energy, such as wind or solar.
Turton and Ceglinski have set up a factory in France that can produce around 360 Seabins a month, but they realise that this is not nearly enough to clear the ocean of trash. So along with the Seabins, they have also launched an educational program aimed at teaching people why they should not litter; and a scientific and research program to provide grants to people interested in finding ways to reduce ocean pollution. Their goal is to not just sell Seabins, but to one day eliminate the need for Seabins altogether. Might this type of three-pronged approach work in other conservation areas as well?