Cleaning up the world’s waterways is no easy task, but two men from Perth, Australia, have created a floating trash bin to try to help.
Devised and produced by Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, the Seabin is designed to catch garbage, oil, fuel, and detergents floating in the water. According to Ceglinski, “marinas, ports, and yacht clubs are the perfect places for the Seabin.” These areas work best because they’re more controlled environments. Coincidentally, they’re also some of the most polluted parts of our oceans and lakes.
Before he and Turton began producing the Seabin, Ceglinski worked as a product designer. “It was my job to make plastic products, and after a while I realized that we didn’t need the stuff that I was making,” he says in Seabin’s promotional video.
That’s when he and Turton decided to quit their jobs and dedicate all of their time and money to cleaning up our waterways. They’re currently raising funds on Indiegogo to bring their prototype into production, using the most sustainable materials and processes they can afford. The goal is to start producing and shipping Seabins later this year.
So how does it work? The Seabin floats at the water’s surface and is attached to a pump that sits on shore or a dock. Water is continually sucked into the Seabin, where a natural fibre “catch bag” collects all of the floating debris.
While the catch bag has to be changed by someone once it’s full, it’s a worthwhile task—removing the waste to dispose of it in a more responsible way also gives you the chance to see everything it’s picking up.
Once the debris is removed, the water flows through the Seabin’s pump, which has an oil-water separator that cleans the water before it flows back into the ocean, lake or river.
And if the Seabin is full before someone can empty the waste, it still works—the flow of the water pulls the floating debris up against the Seabin, holding it there until someone is available to scoop it up.
“The majority of my childhood was always in the water,” Ceglinkski says in the video. “There’s nothing worse than being out there surrounded by plastic.”
But if things continue the way they’re going, it will be a reality we all face. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land, and most of that is plastic. Because petroleum plastics are designed to last, this trash accumulates and remains in the ocean for decades, sometimes longer, says the 5 Gyres Institute, an organization that fights ocean plastic pollution through education, science, and activism.
Of course the Seabin itself is made with plastic, but Ceglinski and Turton have already addressed that issue—the two plan to recycle the plastic captured by a Seabin to create another, which in turn will pull more plastic out of the water.
“It’s a domino effect,” says Ceglinkski, and a pretty good one, if you ask us.
To find out more about the Seabin, or to help fund the project, check out their website at seabinproject.com.