Mission One accomplished.

The Ocean Cleanup has come a long way from being a high school boy’s crazy dream. In 2019 alone, the organization has seen some remarkable milestones.

After facing some all-but-expected developmental problems during their first deployment in 2018, the team was able to take what they learned and relaunched their System 001 (version B) in July of 2019. After being out at sea for six months, the system was brought back to shore in December.

This time around, the project was an outright success. The system, which uses the ocean’s currents to catch drifting plastic, passively collected 60 bags of plastic waste. Passively, because the system is essentially a long tube that floats on the surface of the ocean and carries a “skirt” that hangs below it. Together, the system catches plastic as it travels across the ocean. No human action is required, other than setting it up and emptying it out.

Now that the plastic has been brought to shore, the organization plans to repurpose it into 100% ocean plastic-sourced products, which it will then sell to continue funding their cleanup efforts.

The products are not expected to go on sale until at least September of 2020, if all goes according to plan. However, as the company has already learned, when you’re tackling a problem as large as they are, there are bound to be problems.

Just how big of a problem are they trying to solve? According to Ocean Conservancy, there are 150 million metric tons of plastic already in our oceans. To make matters worse, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste is added to this colossal mess every year.

That is why, in addition to its large cleanup systems, the company has also developed the Interceptor. The Interceptor is the prevention part of the companies overall plan to solve the ocean plastic crisis. It is a system that they will deploy in rivers that carry a high concentration of plastic waste, which would otherwise get carried into the ocean.

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With System 001 and it’s iterations cleaning the “legacy waste” choking our oceans, and the Interceptor stopping plastic from reaching the oceans, The Ocean Cleanup hope to cleanse the worlds largest ecosystem of all plastic waste by 2050.

To learn more about The Ocean Cleanup and their incredible progress, click here.