2015, Palma Mallorca, Spain: Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, Aussie surfers, sailors, boatbuilders and ocean-lovers, were working on boats at a marina in Spain and couldn’t believe the amount of plastic in the water. The marina’s ‘solution’ – hiring someone to walk around with a pool scooper, ladling rubbish out only for it to be back again the next day. Pete and Andrew concluded, “If we can have rubbish bins on land then why not have them in the water?” Why not indeed?
The Seabin concept was born – a rubbish bin for the water. However, unlike Terra Firma where you have the luxury of solid ground, the ocean’s unique quality, besides being inundated with evermore plastic rubbish, is its propensity for constant motion. How can you actually park a bin in the drink? And why would trash simply fall in when it can so merrily float along clogging up wildlife’s vital organs? Pete and Andrew weren’t entirely sure, but they had enough confidence in their problem solving abilities to quit their jobs, take their life savings and lease and renovate an old disused furniture restoration factory in Palma Mallorca.
They got straight to work, learning how to weld thanks to YouTube videos, using a 60 year old sewing machine to stitch the original catch bags, and deploying brainpower beyond the Tawny’s realm of hydrological, self-propelled, oceanic waste management understanding to ascertain how on earth to get rubbish from the water and into their neophyte Seabin.
The Seabin is a simple concept, it’s a cross between a garbage can and a pool skimmer that’s put in the water at yacht clubs, ports, waterfronts and foreshores with existing infrastructure. The Seabin has a water pump at the bottom that draws in water from the surface and pumps it out the bottom. And in the middle is a filter that captures the floating plastic pollution. The water drawn in is filtered and released back into the ocean, while particles of floating debris; plastic bottles, plastic bags, polystyrene, microplastics, fuel, oil, detergents, parking tickets, cigarette butts, chocolate wrappers, and everything else you can imagine are captured – even microfibres like fishing line and plastic threads are captured on a daily basis.
Seabin was founded in 2016 and they’ve not stopped working tirelessly to ensure cleaner oceans every minute since. They now operate in 54 countries with 860 Seabins (including one in Manly) across the globe capturing close to 4 tonnes of aquatic-residing garbage every day. Seabins have removed a total of 1,665,781kg of waste from the ocean, a number growing constantly and rapidly. This is serious business. However, the Seabin mission is not to dominate every spare loch with their majestic repository, it is “To live in a world without Seabins.”
This article has been reproduced in part with permission from our dear friends at hyperlocal monthly print magazine Tawny Frogmouth. Why not pop over to their website and finish the read over there? We won’t mind!