Great ideas to help reduce plastic in our environment

Most of the ideas for alternative materials, re-using and re-cycling plastics are for new products, however what should we do with the millions of tonnes of plastics already in our seas? Here are a few ideas that could help…

The ocean clean-up

For the future, ‘The ocean clean-up’ aims to strip 70 million kilos of plastic from the sea in 10 years.

A 100-kilometre array of floating barriers designed by Dutch engineering student Boyan Slat (a 20-year-old inventor) aims to clear the oceans of waste plastic.

Described as ‘the largest structure ever deployed on the oceans’, the barriers would be arranged in two 50km arms connected to a central platform, forming a V-shape. These would only filter the top three metres of water, as Slat’s studies found that this was where the highest concentration of plastic rubbish could be found in the world’s oceans.

As plastic is caught in the array, the motion of the water would push it naturally towards the platform, where the debris can be extracted and sorted.

“The Ocean Cleanup estimates the cost of removing one kilogram of plastic at €4.53” said the organisation. “This is 33 times cheaper than conventional ocean clean-up methods, while also being an estimated 7,900 times faster.”


At a more local level we find the Sea Bin Project.

Two Australians have invented something similar to an automated pool cleaner – used in marinas, harbours, ports and even inland waters like rivers and lakes – it sucks up rubbish, while filtering out the water. They call it the ‘Seabin’ and already have units in operation. It is an ongoing project and the idea looks set to catch on around the world.

​Floating platform

This Floating Platform Could Filter the Plastic from our Polluted Oceans

Cristian Ehrmantraut has developed a prototype for a floating platform that filters the ocean and absorbs plastic. Located 4 km from the coast of Easter Island, close to the centre of the mega-vortex of plastic located in the South Pacific, the tetrahedral platform performs a kind of dialysis, allowing the natural environment to be recovered as well as energy and food to be produced.