After fishing plastic waste out of the ocean, it normally has to be shipped back to port and on to a recycling plant.
Günter Bolin is a passionate sailor. On his ocean voyages, the Munich-based IT entrepreneur came across ever increasing amounts of plastic waste. He decided to put his IT company to rest and to deal intensively with solving the global plastic waste problem.
In 2011 with Dr. Harald Frank, Erich Groever, Lennart Rölz, Bolin founded the environmental organization One Earth – One Ocean (OEOO). In 2013, One Earth – One Ocean e.V. was awarded the prestigious GreenTec Award 2013, Europe’s largest environmental and business award, for its concept of “marine litter cleanup”.
Since then, from its Kiel and Hamburg bases, OEOO has been developing various types of ships to collect plastic waste from the sea: Since 2012, five 5m x 2 m SeeHamsters developed by OEOO have been sailing in rivers and port areas. These are equipped with a collapsible safety net or safety harness to collect plastic waste from inland waters.
The SeeKuh, a plastic collecting ship measuring 12m × 10 m, has also been in use since 2016. It is used collect the plastic debris and the plastic that is floating up to 4 meters under the surface in coastal regions and estuaries of the Baltic Sea and in Hong Kong.
In 2018 OEOO became an official partner of the UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign. During the past two years, OEOO has been developing the SeeElefant, (= Elephant Seal) a container ship that is designed to take on board the rubbish collected by the hamsters and cows and process, sort, process and, among other things, reprocess it into oil using the system technology integrated in the ship.
Over the past few years OEOO has carried out a feasibility study for this largest ship model; the pilot system is scheduled to start in 2021.
In the future, this vessel will press the finds into single-variety plastic balls that can be processed into new products on land. For the SeeElefant, OEOO received the Federal Ecodesign Award in the “Concept” category in 2019.
With the second generation of the SeeKuh, which is currently under construction, the garbage will be divided into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Organics such as algae and mussels are sorted out and returned to the sea. So far, the recycling garbage has been given unsorted to local recycling companies.
OEOO’s vision is to establish as many systems of collection vehicles and processing vessels as possible, preferably in front of each river mouth. Because when no more rubbish ends up in the sea, it helps a lot. Once it’s drifted into the open sea, it’s actually too late.
What you can do: Reduce your plastic usage.
Discover Solution 272: Algae-based paint
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