The Ocean Cleanup's System 002 deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Photo credit: The Ocean Cleanup

Ocean Cleanup Project Achieves Major Milestone in Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Mike Schuler
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July 28, 2022

The largest and most ambitious ocean cleanup project in history is claiming its first 100,000 kg of plastic removed from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The company behind the project, called The Ocean Cleanup, announced the milestone this week, about a year after its second system was deployed to the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.

Since then, the system has collected 101,353 kg of plastic over 45 extractions, sweeping an area approximately the size of Rhode Island. Combined with its first system, the total amount of plastic collected weighs in at 108,526 kg, more than the combined weight of two and a half Boeing 737-800s.

The Ocean Cleanup estimates the amount is approximately 1/1,000th of the plastic that has accumulated in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Not to be dismayed, however, because the company’s third system is expected to capture pastic at a rate potentially 10 times that of system two, due to its size, efficiency and improved uptime.

The story of The Ocean Cleanup is an interesting one. The company, a non-profit, was started by Boyan Slat, who was only 19 when he dropped out of TU Delft in the Netherlands, where he was studying aerospace engineering, after giving a TEDx talk at his school during which he detailed his plans for a system to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

Today, the company has its sights set on remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.

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