The Ocean Cleanup, Part 1: Alternatives to reduce ocean plastic

Photo: Shutterstock, providing many images of a polluted ocean.

This is the first of two-part post. This installment is written by Kim, who will present alternatives to the Ocean Cleanup project to help curb the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. The second installment is a technical review of the Ocean Cleanup feasibility study and is a collaboration between Kim and Miriam .

Last year, Deep Sea News reviewed the Ocean Cleanup project. The brain child of Boyan Slat, he claimed that his design could clean the ocean of plastic in 10 years. At the time the project was just a concept. It was a concept that we found had serious potential problems. As is explained in the technical review, we still think it has a lot of problems.

We can all agree here, we WANT to see plastic in the ocean cleaned up. But it isn’t an easy job and right now there isn’t a catch-all solution. Therefore, I’ve assembled a list of organizations that are actively trying to reduce ocean plastic, and suggestions on how you can help facilitate positive change. Because ocean plastic is a big problem that needs a big solution, and we need to work together on multiple fronts to solve it.

These organizations have waged an awesome and successful war against ocean plastic and in particular the terrible microbead. Microbeads are the little pieces of plastic that cosmetic companies put in their products for some extra scrubbiness. But once you wash your face, these microbeads go straight into waterways because they can’t be removed from wastewater*. Working together, 5 GyresBeat the Microbead (part of the Plastic Soup Foundation) and The North Sea Foundation has successfully convinced Unilever, The Body Shop, L’Oreal, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson & Johnson to all stop using microbeads in their products. These organizations are also working with lawmakers to enact microplastic bans in the US, Canada and Europe. Keep up the good work you banishers of microplastics!

You can also stop using cosmetics with plastic microbeads, but make sure you dispose of them properly.


Sometimes you got to use a little muscle to clean the ocean. And that’s just what the ocean conservancy does, each year they organize the International Coastal Cleanup. The next one is September 20. Volunteering is good for your soul and the beach.


They surf, they shred, they care about the ocean. The Surfrider foundation is on it with their Rise above Plastics campaign, working at the local and state level to get plastic bags banned and help pass other plastic reducing initiatives.


Writer at Southern Fried Science and friend of Deep Sea News Andrew Thaler just alerted us to […]

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