Surfers set to launch ocean plastic solution

Posted 24 August 2016

Beach full of rubbishTwo Australians sick of surfing in plastic and other rubbish have invented an in-water automated marina rubbish collector they say will play a vital part in cleaning the world's oceans.

Seabin Project Managing Director Pete Ceglinski said the design solution was “super simple.”

“The hardest part in the design process was to keep it as simple as we could,” he said.

Made from recycled waste, the Seabins are first fixed to a pontoon and immersed in water to collect macro-waste and hydrocarbons.

“The water flows in from the top, passes through a catch bag and is pumped out below using a 24-volt submersible pump,” Ceglinski said.

“The catch bag is made of hessian and we can catch microplastics down to 2mm in size due to the properties of the natural fibres.

“The catch bags can be reused, washed and when its end of life is up, it can be cleaned thoroughly and composted.”

The Seabin is designed to not only collect floating hard waste, it can also be fitted with a filter to catch oil floating on the water surface.

“The Seabin takes away the task of a marina worker scoop netting and operates 24/7. This frees up the marina workers for other tasks. Changing of the catch bag twice per day takes minimal time,” Ceglinski said.

“One Seabin is estimated at catching an average of 1–1.5kg of floating hard waste per day, which equates to around a half ton of waste per year per Seabin.

“Multiply the numbers of Seabins and you can see the difference they really make.”

There was also huge global interest in using the Seabins in a range of waterbodies – not just marinas or oceans, Ceglinski said.

Originally from Perth, he and co-founder Andrew Turton took the Seabin pilot project to Spain – the marina and yachting centre of Europe – earlier this year, seeking market interest.

They have since announced an exclusive partnership with French manufacturer Poralu Marine and aim to launch the product around the world at the end of the year.

Ceglinski said the development process had not been without difficulties.

“[There were] too many challenges to list,” Ceglinski said.

“Sourcing a 24-volt pump with a high flow rate, dealing with tidal variations and waves, crowdfunding and redesigning the seasons to suit rotational moulding so we can use recycled open plastics to produce our Seabins with.

“Setting up and running a business for the first time is also a daily challenge.”

Ceglinski also hopes the Seabins will become a valuable sources of information, with the company employing two marine scientists, collaborating with international experts in plastic research and developing a global database.