The Ocean Cleanup has revealed that it will begin to design its next ocean cleanup system, System 002; a full scale cleanup system that is able to both endure and retain the collected plastic for long periods of time.
Once fully operational, the company will return plastic to land for recycling. Timing of that phase of the mission is contingent upon further testing and design iteration, the Ocean Cleanup said.
The move comes on the back of the successful deployment of System 001/B, which is passively capturing and collecting plastic debris of all sizes by using the natural forces of the ocean.
Launched from Vancouver in June, System 001/B is the Ocean Cleanup’s second attempt to prove its concept of collecting garbage from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest accumulation zone of plastic in the world’s oceans.
In addition to collecting plainly visible pieces of plastic debris, as well as much larger ghost nets associated with commercial fishing, the latest system has also “successfully captured microplastics as small as 1mm – a feat the team was pleasantly surprised to achieve.”
“After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup founder and CEO, explained.
“Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.”