Imagine a pollution free ocean forever, how can you help?
Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, now based in Mallorca, met through their jobs onboard racing yachts in America, and share a common loathing of plastic pollution and a passion for the sea.
You could have forgiven Pete Ceglinski for throwing in the towel last year when he was down to his last few Euros in his pocket. It’s not an easy task to get a ground breaking invention off the blocks and into production. He and his co-founder Andrew Turton (or Turtle to his mates) had been working on their idea, the Seabin, for four years. Despite having approached many environmental charities and pressure groups Pete and Turtle had had no help, interest or indeed even replies to their emails.
Both now based in Mallorca, the two men met through their jobs onboard racing yachts in America, and share a common loathing of plastic pollution and a passion for the sea. “The majority of my childhood I spent in the water and there’s nothing worse than being out there surrounded by it,” Turtle tells me. They both love to sail and surf as is evident by the boards leaning against the walls in their workshop. Turtle, a master boat builder, had started to work on an idea to reduce plastic pollution when he met Pete, an ex-product designer, “It was my job to make plastic products, and after a while I realised that we didn’t need the stuff that I was making, and so I stopped”. It was an encounter that was to affect the course of their lives, and hopefully, the health of the planet. “We have designed and made an automated rubbish bin that catches floating rubbish, oil, fuel and detergents. It is for floating docks in the water of marinas, inland waterways, residential lakes, harbours, and yacht clubs. We’ve called it the Seabin”.
What’s all the fuss about? Plastic pollution is hardly the most glamorous of topics, however with a reported 16 million articles now on Google referencing the Seabin this could all be about to change. Recent research shows that between 5m and 12m tonnes of plastic find their way into the ocean every year. This is adding rapidly to the five trillion pieces – weighing around 270,000 tonnes – that are calculated to already be polluting the world’s seas and oceans. Some estimates show that by 2050 the weight of plastic is likely to outweigh that of fish. There isn’t really any time to waste.
It’s situated at the water’s surface and plumbed into a shore based water pump on the dock. The water gets sucked into the Seabin bringing all floating debris and floating liquids into it. They are caught inside and the water then flows out through the bottom of the bin and up into the pump on the dock. It’s like a giant sieve, I say. “Yes”, says Turtle, “Exactly”.
It was during their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign this January that they went “viral”. A French website (ideesdebiz.fr) featured their video explaining their invention’s function and very rapidly it exceeded 3.2 million views “Normal people have paid for the Seabin”, Pete tells me, “between Turtle and myself we know several millionaires and billionaires from the racing yachting world, but it was mums and dads and kids who put their hands in their pockets to get us the money to develop it.”
Since attracting the world’s attention, and many Facebook followers in the process, they are now coping with their new found popularity, and trying to take it steady as she goes. “We’re aiming for production by 2016,” says Pete, “But our ultimate goal is to live in a world where we don’t need the Seabins. Imagine that, a pollution free ocean for our future generations”.