While some are catching plastic in the open ocean, others are trying to mitigate the issue of water pollution closer to the coast, where much of the debris start their journey. Marinas are the primary target of the Seabin Project‘s devices, which are floating garbage bins that are able to autonomously collect plastics (as well as oil, fuel and detergent) and trash 24 hours a day.
The Seabin project
Andrew ‘Turtle’ Turton and Pete Ceglinski, two avid sea lovers, launched the Australian company Seabin Ltd in 2015.
Andrew was a boat builder and sailor by trade, and all started with his simple idea that “if we can have rubbish bins on land then why not have them in the water?”. Pete, the current Seabin CEO, was a product designer instead, it was his job to make single-use plastic products, but after a while he realized “we didn’t know the stuff I was making, so I stopped” and switched to boat building, teaming up with Andrew in 2013. In 2014, Pete quit his job, moved to Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and used his savings to renovate an old disused furniture restoration factory.
Seabin Project’s adventure was just started. Their first crowdfunding campaign went viral in 2016 and allowed to raise 267K $. The partnerships that the team could establish allowed them to install the first prototype in Mallorca in June 2016, and in short Seabin devices were deployed in all other pilot locations around the world. In November 2017 was ready to go pre-sales.
Since then, the organization has received many awards for its efforts. At the time of writing, Seabins are installed in 719 locations across 50 countries. The total amount of garbage captured so far is 114,916 Kg, and every day almost 2 tons are collected.
How the device works
According to the Seabin Project’s team, marinas, ports and yacht clubs are the ideal places to start cleaning up the oceans, as they are relatively calm and controlled environments where winds and currents tend to create heavily polluted areas, that are the perfect installation locations for the devices. Strategic positioning of the Seabins ensures optimum performance, as wind, currents and tides help to bring floating debris to the seabins.
The Seabin moves up and down with the range of tides collecting all floating rubbish. When water is sucked and filtered through a catch bag inside the bin, debris (and micro-plastics down to 2 mm size) get trapped to be disposed of properly. A submersible pump inside the device is able to displace 25K liters of water per hour, and the catch bag can hold up to 20 kgs of rubbish. The amount of debris each bin is able to catch is 1.4ton per annum as per the 2018 Global Impact report.
And if this weren’t enough, the Seabin Project’s team has constantly been pursuing research to innovate and make devices better. Seabins can now capture some of the smallest microplastics and microfibers, while oil absorbent pads are also able to absorb petroleum-based surface oils and detergent.
Education and research
Beyond the devices, the organization started to invest in further activities, starting from education. This is very important to the Seabin Foundation, which designed the STEM Learning programs to “inspire youth through a series of lessons suitable for schools”.
And devices are getting smarter every day, as the team is working hard to design them to be more effective. Many universities and environmental organizations are currently collaborating with the Foundation to support research and development. Among others, Jenna Jambeck, a worldwide-known engineer, is involved in the project to scale up the data collection side. Collecting data, e.g. to predict marine litter volumes based on weather patterns, is key to make Seabins more efficient, and this is a task Pilot Partners are also helping with.
How to support
- Do you want to know how to crowdfund a Seabin? Many communities around the world have already done it successfully. Contact the Seabin Funding Support team to know more
- The Seabin Foundation, the Seabin Project’s Not-For-Profit fundraising organisation that addresses Education, Science, Research and Community projects that result in cleaner oceans, accepts one-off and monthly donations
- Do you want to buy a Seabin? Here is where to start
- The Seabin Project’s merchandise is amazing! Check the online shop and look for their cups or the customized Miir re-usable bottles, you’ll love them! (items are shipped from the US, extra custom duties may apply)
- You can follow the Seabin Project on
- You can support the Seabin Project even by simply sharing this article on your favorite social networks. Spread the word!