General, Oceans

First 100,000 KG Removed From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Today, our operation in the Pacific Ocean reached an exciting milestone: The Ocean Cleanup has now officially removed more than 100,000 kg of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP).

Since deployment in August 2021, System 002 (or “Jenny”) has now collected 101,353 kg of plastic over 45 extractions, sweeping an area of ocean of over 3000km2 – comparable to the size of Luxembourg or Rhode Island. Added to the 7,173 kg of plastic captured by our previous prototype systems, The Ocean Cleanup has now collected 108,526 kg of plastic from the GPGP – more than the combined weight of two and a half Boeing 737-800s, or the dry weight of a space shuttle!

According to our 2018 study in which we mapped the patch, the total amount of accumulated plastic is 79,000,000 kg, or 100,000,000 kg if we include the Outer GPGP. Thus, if we repeat this 100,000 kg haul 1,000 times – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will be gone.

 

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An example of what 1 kg of ocean plastic can look like

I’m proud of The Ocean Cleanup team for crossing this milestone, which is all the more remarkable considering System 002 is still an experimental system. Now our technology is validated, we are ready to move on to our new and expanded System 03, which is expected to capture plastic at a rate potentially 10 times higher than System 002 through a combination of increased size, improved efficiency, and increased uptime. Our transition to System 03 is starting soon.

Uniquely, our catch reporting follows DNV’s Chain of Custody standard. This independent certification guarantees that every single kilogram of plastic came from the ocean. You can read more about how our plastic catch is verified here.

Right now, we’re scaling up to the next phase in our cleanup with System 03. Onwards to adding another zero behind our catch figures!