First Plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch Arrives Onshore in Vancouver

Mike Schuler
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December 16, 2019

The Ocean Cleanup’s Founder and CEO Boyan Slat speaks during a press event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada welcoming the first catch of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, December 12, 2019. Photo courtesy The Ocean Cleanup

The Dutch non-profit led by young entrepreneur Boyan Slat is just now bringing the first batch of ocean plastic back to shore following a successful mission to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The first plastic arrived last week in Vancouver, British Columbia, after being caught by The Ocean Cleanup’s u-shaped floating collection system.

Now onshore, the plastic trash will be recycled into consumer products that will that The Ocean Cleanup will sell to help fundraise for future cleanup operations.

To certify that the plastic is in fact ocean plastic, The Ocean Cleanup has teamed up with classification society DNV GL, who has been for the last 18 months working to establish a set of requirements and verification process for the plastic collected.

“To bring transparency to the market, we asked the leading certification body DNV GL to launch a standard, to certify that ocean plastic is actually 100% plastic taken from the ocean,” said Boyan Slat, the 25-year-old Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. “DNV GL followed every step of ocean plastic and will continue to do so, to be able to confirm if the plastic in our products truly is 100% coming from the ocean.”

Based in Rotterdam, The Ocean Cleanup was launched by Slat in 2013 with the mission of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic trash through the development of a fleet of long, floating barriers that move with the currents to passively concentrate and collect ocean plastic and other trash for collection. The company deployed its first system to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in September 2018, but almost immediately it began experiencing difficulties which sent it back to shore for repairs and upgrades.

After correcting the issues, The Ocean Cleanup deployed its second system in June 2019 and, after several months of trials, the company announced its first plastic collection in October.

“Welcoming the first catch of plastic on land is the moment we have been looking forward to for years. I believe we can use this trash to turn a problem into a solution by transforming this unique material into a beautiful product. As most people will never go to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, through these products, we aim to give everyone the opportunity to take part in the cleanup”, Slat said on the upcoming plans of The Ocean Cleanup.

With “Mission One” now complete, Slat and The Ocean Cleanup are looking towards the deployment for their second system, System 002, which is hoped to be a “key stepping stone” to full-scale cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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