Oceans cover nearly 71-percent of the Earth’s surface, and are currently the dumping ground of over 8 million tons of plastics. Through the years, researchers have come up with a wide variety of solutions, some expectedly more effective than others. These include strategically-placed floating barriers that sort out plastic waste from water and even ingeniously-designed pollutant-absorbing bikinis. The new Seabin marine waste collector, however, aims to simplify the task of cleaning water bodies, like marinas, lakes, harbors, inland waterways, ports and so on.
Designed Perth-based innovators Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, this fully-automated rubbish bin works by catching floating plastic debris from the water flowing into it. A specially-crafted “catch bag” traps the waste materials, while letting the water flow out through the bottom of the bin. Marinas and ports are often home to certain pollution-heavy areas, thanks to winds and currents that constantly drag floating debris from one location to another.
At present, the task of cleaning these water bodies falls upon special “trash boats” that catch rubbish using built-in nets. Although efficient to some extent, these boats are usually quite expensive to run and maintain. According to the developers, the Seabin serves as an effective low-cost alternative that is also incredibly easy to use and maintain. Its compact, lightweight design allows it to be used in marinas and ports, without being obtrusive. What is more, it is capable of operating 24 hours a day, every day.
The Seabin is best suited for catching plastics and other pollutants in marinas, harbors and ports, with relatively controlled environments. The system features a standard cylindrical bin, which is in turn connected to a floating dock. A shored-based pump, situated on the dock, disturbs the marina surface, causing the water to flow into the bin. A built-in natural fiber catch bag then traps the floating rubbish, while the pollutant-free water is released from the bottom of the structure.
The water coming out of the bin is pushed up into the pump, from where it can be sent through an oil-water separator, before letting it flow back into the marina. Thanks to its small size, each of these bins can be easily operated by one person, and can also fit into yachts and other boats. To make the device all the more sustainable, the designers have successfully used plastics, captured with the help of Seabin, to create an altogether new waste collector.
According to the developers, if built from eco-friendly , recycled materials, the Seabin can actually help solve and even prevent today’s fast-growing marine pollution. What is more, it could also support local economies, by making oceans cleaner and more beautiful. Currently up for crowdfunding at Indiegogo, the product is available for around $3825. If everything goes according to plan, the company will start shipping sometime in the middle of next year.