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Posted Jun 7th, 2017

Could Half of the Pacific Ocean’s Trash Get Picked Up by 2023?

We know there are floating islands made entirely of trash lurking in the ocean, leaking poison and plastics that kill fish unfortunate enough to swim too close. It’s thankfully time to update that knowledge with a glimmer of hope: a new trash-collecting boom may make the deadly flotsam a thing of the past.

A dream first lauded on a TED talk stage six years ago is one step closer to becoming a reality, and it’s poised to do some major cleaning that we desperately need.

The Journey to a Cleaner Pacific

Boyan Slat is heralded as a boy genius because he first presented the idea of a massive ocean cleanup project on a TED stage when he was just 17, but the now-22-year-old inventor says we should see his first cleanup booms next year thanks to millions of dollars of investments so far.

Slat expects his system to be able to collect 50% of total trash in the Pacific Ocean within just five years, plus cost “significantly less” than earlier estimates of $320 million.

The Ocean Cleanup Foundation that pioneering the work will test a 0.6-mile-long prototype later this year and expects the trial and initial production not to eat up all the $30 million it has raised so far from investors like PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel and Salesforce’s Marc and Lynne Benioff.How It Will Work

The boom will look like the tops of fishing nets resting along the water but with mile-long sections, it will create was is essentially an “artificial coastline” that passively catches and collects debris. The design will slowly push the trash to the center of the boom where it can more easily be collected by boats.

After research and testing, the Foundation says it was able to reduce cost estimates because the booms do not need to be secured to the ocean floor itself. Instead, the system will now use anchors floating in deeper water to allow the boom to move while still keeping its overall shape and not allowing the trash to escape.

The deployment near the Pacific Ocean’s miles of trash, called the Garbage Patch, will slowly pull trash away by sitting at its edge. The Patch has a vortex at its core, so the trash is always in motion and rotating around a center point.

Removing the fixture to the ocean floor should also allow the system to collect trash and move with it and ocean waves, gently collecting garbage instead of smashing up against it. This could allow the booms to last much longer and clean more thoroughly.

Why We Love It

At Securis, a core mission of ours is to make the world a cleaner place and be better stewards of our planet and natural resources like soil and water. There are hundreds of thousands of tons of trash in our oceans right now, and that often ends up in the food we eat, the water that falls onto the land as rain, and in the bodies of countless animals.

Cleaning up the oceans is the right thing to do, and this system appears to be an affordable, successful method to clean it up quickly, safely, and efficiently.

Our work in recycling and reclaiming goods also aligns with this effort because much of the plastics in our ocean can be recycled and turned into goods that we use. It’s even possible that this could become part of the computer and electronic equipment that we recycle for your company one day.

You can read a compelling article on Slat and his ocean booms, or learn more about the recycling processes we offer for your computer equipment. Let’s keep everything we can out of the ocean by working together.

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