End of February 2022, we reached our goal of funding the cleanup of half a million football fields’ worth of the ocean with our first ocean plastic product. Every one of The Ocean Cleanup Sunglasses has found its owner. As a non-profit, we direct all of the proceeds into our ongoing cleanup operations in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). This achievement marks the proof of concept that we can create value from the ocean plastic catch: the material can be recycled into high-quality consumer products, giving people a tangible way to support us and help raise funds for the mission.
REPURPOSING OUR FIRST OCEAN CATCH
In 2019, we tested System 001/B, a modular ocean system, to learn what type of configuration could catch and retain plastic. Our first ocean system, System 001, had shown us that we needed to be able to make quicker iterations at sea to reach proof of concept. During the System 001/B test campaign, we successfully captured our first ocean plastic in a wide size range. In addition to the system catch, our crew also opportunistically retrieved derelict fishing nets, or “ghost nets”, drifting close by the system. The nets were used in our first item, The Ocean Cleanup Sunglasses.
During the creation of The Ocean Cleanup Sunglasses, we teamed with experts to develop a high-quality and desirable product. Independent certification body DNV developed a public standard and audited that we repurposed our catch accordingly. In adhering to the DNV standard, we raise the bar on transparency about the use of ocean plastic in products. Consumers could rest assured that the origin of plastics was traceable all the way back to the point of ocean extraction.
GOING FORWARD: REPURPOSE WITH PARTNERS
Our mission is to clean the ocean by removing polluting plastics. We also aim to keep this plastic from entering waterways again by creating durable new products or processing it otherwise.
As our cleanup operations in oceans are scaling up, we will get more and more plastic. To maintain focus on our core mission — cleaning oceans — we are not looking to make our own product anymore. Instead, we are looking to partner with companies who can use our plastic to make durable products.
We introduced our first full circle product, The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses, on October 24, 2020. In one year and four months, we raised funds for the cleanup of over 500,000 football fields worth of ocean thanks to our supporters. Thank you for helping us in our mission to rid the oceans of plastic.
To learn more about how we process our plastic catches, see these sources:
- Waste Management and Recycling
- Podcast episode: Talking Trash | Making Waste Fun
- Podcast episode: What now? | What we’ll do with 28,659 KG of plastic
- Update: How Plastic Can Be Used Responsibly