Dutch inventor Boyan Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup at the age of 18 in his hometown of Delft, the Netherlands.
We are a registered charity as a 'Stichting' in the Netherlands, and a 501(c)(3) in the US.
The Ocean Cleanup's team consists of more than 90 engineers, researchers, scientists and computational modelers working daily to rid the world's oceans of plastic.
Big problems require big solutions
Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the oceans primarily from rivers. The plastic afloat across the oceans – legacy plastic – isn’t going away by itself. Therefore, solving ocean plastic pollution requires a combination of stemming the inflow and cleaning up what has already accumulated.
The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization, is developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. When we have achieved our goal of a 90% reduction in ocean plastic, our project is finished and our work will be done.
We must defuse this
ticking time bomb
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time, impacting more than 600 marine species.
According to a study conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, yearly economic costs due to marine plastic pollution are estimated to be between $6-19bn USD. The costs stem from the plastic’s impact on tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and (governmental) cleanups.
Plastic pollution does not only impact sea life, it also carries toxic pollutants into the food chain – a food chain including us humans.
A simple idea turned into a moonshot project
The Ocean Cleanup is designing and developing cleanup systems to clean up what is already polluting our oceans and to intercept plastic on its way to the ocean via rivers.
A significant percentage of the plastic that enters the oceans from rivers and other sources during a transfer that can take many years, drifts into large systems of circulating ocean currents, also known as gyres. Once trapped in a gyre, the plastic will slowly break down into microplastics and become increasingly easier to mistake for food by sea life.
Going after the plastic in the garbage patches with vessels and nets would be costly, time-consuming, labor-intensive, and lead to vast amounts of carbon emission and by-catch. That is why The Ocean Cleanup is developing a passive ocean cleanup technology, that moves with the currents – just like the plastic – to catch it. By deploying a fleet of systems, The Ocean Cleanup has estimated to be able to remove 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years.
The concentrated plastic will be brought back to shore for recycling. Supporters can now register to get early access to the first products made of verified ocean plastic. The revenue gained will help fund the cleanup expansion to the other four ocean gyres.
The Interceptor™ is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers.
It is 100% solar-powered, extracts plastic autonomously, and can be placed in the majority of the world’s most polluting rivers. Together with corporations and governments from all over the world, we plan on tackling 1000 of the most polluting rivers all over the world in the next five years.
The Ocean Cleanup is a project; it is our ultimate goal to reach a 90% reduction of floating ocean plastic by the year 2040.
The impact of the cleanup
Our models indicate that a full-scale system roll-out could clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.
Research shows the majority of plastic in the gyres by mass is currently in the larger debris. By removing the plastic while most of it is still large, we prevent it from breaking down into dangerous microplastics.
Combining the cleanup with source reduction on land paves the road towards a plastic-free ocean by 2050.
To succeed in its mission, The Ocean Cleanup’s management team relies on a rare combination of innovative talent and high-level industry experience. The organization also benefits from the invaluable support and guidance of its advisory boards.
Scientific Advisory Board
- Prof. Dr. Richard Spinrad Marine Technology & Oceanography, Marine Technology Society
- Prof. Dr. Alex Oude Elferink International Law of the Sea, Utrecht University
- Prof. Dr. Gerhard J. Herndl Ecology and Biological Oceanography, University of Vienna
- Frederik Gerner Chairman on behalf of The Ocean Cleanup
Contribute with your skills and build a clean future with us.
Fund the cleanup
Help us fund the full-scale deployment of cleanup systems.