Two entrepreneurial Australians have invented a high density polyethylene rubbish bin to collect ocean waste.
Commercial sales are scheduled to start in September with an initial batch of 400 of the seabins, manufactured by harbor and pontoon manufacturer Poralu Marine, based in France.
The seabin was developed by surfers Andrew Turton, from the north coast of the state of New South Wales, and Pete Ceglinski, from the Sunshine Coast, in the state of Queensland. The pair worked as boat builders and traveled together.
They co-founded Seabin Australia Pty. Ltd., headquartered in Perth, but now live and work in Mallorca, Spain, where they have established another company, Seabin Project S.L.
Sergio Ruiz Halpern, Seabin Project's head of scientific research and education, told Plastics News Turton thought of the seabin concept while working as land crew for racing boats.
"He was tired of seeing so much trash in the waters of the marinas. One day he said to himself, if there are rubbish bins on land, why can't we have one in the water?" Halpern said.
Turton trialed several prototypes until Ceglinski added his product design expertise. "That's when they built a crowd-funded prototype, which led to enough funding to bring the product to market," Halpern said.
The seabin is fixed to a dock and has a water pump that creates a flow of water. It sucks floating debris into a catch bag made from recycled plastic and pumps the water back out. The concept is similar to a skimmer box on a swimming pool filter. The catch bag can hold up to 26 pounds of debris.
It catches anything floating, from plastic bottles to paper, fuels and detergents. Halpern said in some of the six marinas where seabins are being tested they catch 90 percent plastic.
Trials are at marinas in Port Adriano, Mallorca, Spain; La Grande Motte, France; Montenegro; Helsinki; Princess Hamilton Marina, in Bermuda; and Cabrillo Isle Marina in San Diego.
Seabin Project received A$270,000 (US$214,000) from a crowd-funding campaign and support from the marinas trialing seabins to fund the prototype development.
The company has just received 350,000 euros (US$403,000) and a people's choice award of a further 10,000 euros (US$11,500) after Seabin Project CEO Ceglinski and operations manager Sascha Chapman attended a three-week business accelerator program with online travel agency Booking.com in Amsterdam. Seabin was one of 10 startups selected to attend the program and share in funding.
The money will be used to expand Seabin's three full-time staff, Ceglinski, Chapman and Halpern, to six or seven people and for "factory modifications and streamlining process management," a statement on Seabin Project's website said.
Halpern said: "We are now reviewing and screening applications. Once we find suitable candidates [they will start] as soon as possible."
Seabin Project's website said the company is trialing recycled HDPE ocean plastics to see what mix of recycled and virgin resins can be used to manufacture seabins.
"Recycled ocean plastic mesh for the catch bags [is] being trialed before production starts this [northern] summer."
Chapman told Plastics News seabins should last at least three to five years in the water. "They are durable and likely to last for many more. We aim to have a buy-back offer to ensure old seabins can be recycled and repurposed."