Here at Poly Free Planet, our goal is to help you reduce your plastic usage and to help stem the tide of plastic making its way into our oceans….
‘But what about all of the plastic already in the ocean?’, I hear you ask. It is reported that there is 8 million tonnes of plastic already in the ocean and that, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish if the current rates continue without intervention.
Well, this article is here to help answer that question. I have put together a list of 5 awesome ocean cleanup organizations that are taking back our rivers, lakes, beaches and oceans from the plastic infestation.
Although there are hundreds of amazing organizations out there playing their part, I decided to include organizations that are tackling different problems and have clever solutions as opposed to simply 5 organizations that are cleaning beaches, for example.
As a quick side note: I am not associated with any of these organizations at the time of writing, I just believe they are doing a great job. I don’t receive any money should you buy from or donate to them. If this ever changes, I will update this message.
Anyway, here goes:
1. 4Ocean – Cleaning Oceans and Beaches
A relatively new organization having only been around since 2016, 4Ocean has already cleaned up over 1 million pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines. Avid surfers and founders Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze saw first-hand the impact plastic was having on coastlines and beaches around the world and decided something needed to be done.
What they do – Andrew and Alex have come up with an innovative way of funding their organization, they use 100% recycled materials to make their stylish bracelets, which they then sell to help fund their cleanups. The money raised from the bracelets also helps 4Ocean employ local fisherman to use their boats and equipment to remove plastic from the coastline and beaches.
Where they do it – 4Ocean have cleaned the ocean and coastlines in 27 countries so far! Ocean cleanups have taken place on coastlines around the world, including, Cyprus, China, Brazil and the Philippines. They have a United States headquarters in Florida and an international headquarters in Bali where cleanup efforts are growing, new economies are being created and local communities are being educated on sustainability to help solve the global problem.
How you can help – You can help by purchasing a 4Ocean bracelet or any other products from their shop and there is a 4Ocean monthly subscription for those whose want to help remove a pound of plastic each month. They also have a ‘monthly cause’ where 4Ocean partners with other ocean conservation organizations with special colored bracelets available.
2. Ocean Conservancy – Protection and Policy
Having been around for over 30 years, Ocean Conservancy is the oldest organization on the list. With this wealth of experience they are able to combat ocean pollution on every level. From government policy to local cleanups, Ocean Conservancy is at the forefront of the ocean cleanup and conservation movement.
What they do – Ocean Conservancy have an array of programs that focus on solving some of the greatest threats facing our ocean today, including: working alongside governments to defend important policies that protect our oceans; reducing over fishing to rebuild and protect vulnerable fish populations; restoring and protecting ecosystems and wildlife.
Where they do it – Ocean Conservancy works all around the world, helping to clear plastic from our oceans, rivers and lakes. They also started the annual International Coastal Cleanup in 1986. You can find all the organized cleanups on their cleanup map.
How you can help – You can volunteer to be part of the International Coastal Cleanup which takes place in September each year or you can even start a cleanup in your area, if you’re unable to find one. The website also contains downloadable content for outreach and education if you want to help spread the word.
3. Seabin Project – Marinas and Docks
Seabin Project “started from a passion for the oceans and the hard realization that human over consumption and waste mismanagement was killing nature’s best jewel” Seabin Project aim to have pollution free oceans for future generations.
What they do – Seabin project has design a floating rubbish bin that is located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports that are considered hot spots for ocean littering. Using a pump and filtration system, the average Seabin is able to collect around half a tonne of debris per year.
Where they do it – The aim of the project is for the seasbin to be implemented at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports around the world, to help stem the tide of pollution that makes its way into the ocean. By closing these gateways, we can reduce the amount of ocean pollution at one of its major sources.
How you can help – If you live or work close to marinas or docks, you can of course, encourage the decision makers to use seabins to help control the amount of waste leaving the marina/docks.
For those of us that don’t live or work close by, Seabin Project has designed the global ambassador program to provide information on research, data collection and developing new technologies. This information can be used by anyone to help educate others in your area.
4. The Ocean Cleanup – The Largest Cleanup in History
Dutch inventor Boyan Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup at the age of 18 in his hometown of Delft, the Netherlands. The Ocean Cleanup’s team consists of more than 70 engineers, researchers, scientists and computational modelers working daily to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.
What they do – The OC has designed a floating collector which will collect plastic around the 5 gyres, starting with the great Pacific garbage patch. Once concentrated in a smaller area, the waste can be collected regualrly, making the whole process much more streamlined and effective. Here is a video explaining the technology in greater detail:
Where they do it – The Ocean Cleanup’s headquarters are located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Their assembly yard for the first cleanup system is in Alameda, San Francisco Bay Area, California. Once they have tested the collector in the greta Pacific garbage patch, they plan to build and release 60 collectors around the 5 gyres around the world.
How you can help – The two main ways to help with ‘the largest cleanup in history’ is to donate to the cause via their fund page, or you can share videos/posts to social media to help raise awareness of this potentially planet changing invention.
5. Recycling Technologies – Closing the Loop on Plastic
While Recycling Technologies doesn’t actually perform any cleanups, I have decided to include them in my list as they may have come up with a viable solution to the question; what should we do with the plastic we remove?
What they do – Recycling Technologies are a recycling company and have a team of engineers that have developed a new technology that reportedly turns plastic into oil. This oil can then be used in a variety of ways, including, making new plastic products.
Where they do it – Recycling Technologies plan mass to produce their recycling machines so they can be built and shipped to all major cities, beaches and waste collection points. They hope to have 1300 machines around the world by 2027
How you can help – Unlike the other organizations in this list Recycling Technologies doesn’t have a donation page as they are mainly looking for investors but, as with the other organizations, it is always helpful to spread the word and share their stories with others.
That’s All Folks!
So that was my list of 5 amazing ocean cleanup organizations. I hope you enjoyed reading it and that it has given you some inspiration to get involved in ‘the big cleanup’ in some way.
If you have any comments or know of any organizations you feel deserve a mention, please fell free to comment below and I will happily look into them all
Thanks for reading!!