New 'Seabin' Cleans Plastic Waste Out Of The Ocean

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May. 23 2019, Updated 9:39 a.m. ET

The oceans don't have it too easy these days. There's overfishing, dying coral reefs, warming temperatures, and, to top it all off, an excess of plastic polluting the waters. Humans dump more than 8 million tons of plastic into our oceans every year, and the problem is only getting worse. We produce nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use, and most of the plastic we've ever produced is still around today. Which means more will keep to flowing into the oceans. 

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To combat this problem, one organization has invented the "seabin" to collect plastics of all sizes in the ocean, from bottles to debris. It can even collect oil. And the first one has been installed in Portsmouth Harbor in the U.K.

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Essentially a trashcan-sized bin composed of a large fiber net and a dock-based pump, the seabin works by creating a flow of water that pulls any surrounding trash into the body of the bin to be caught in the net. It can catch about 3.3 pounds of plastic per day, with the ability to hold up to 26.5 pounds at full capacity. It is estimated each bin can pull about half a ton of debris out of the ocean every year, equivalent to 20,000 bottles or 83,000 plastic bags.

“Sure, we can’t catch everything right now, but it’s a really positive start,” the device’s creators, Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turto, told the Huffington Post. “It’s a big mission, but it can be done. In fact, we’re doing it right now.”

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The Australian creators, who founded the Seabin Project organization, were inspired to create the seabin after learning that existing solutions to pull trash out of the ocean, such as boats that drive around harbors, didn't work. But their seabin concept has proven so successful that they've raised $260,000 on Indiegogo to fund its creation. Now, if the U.K. pilot goes well, the product will go to market itn November of this year. 

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