Two Aussie Surfers Design ‘Seabin’ That Automatically Cleans Ocean Waste

Aussie surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski have designed a device dubbed the Seabin that floats on the surface of the water and cleans up marine waste. According to ABC Online, Pete and Andrew became frustrated by the amount of rubbish and pollution they encountered while surfing, and decided to quit their jobs in order to solve the problem. What they came up with was The Seabin Project. The Seabin is a floating device that collects rubbish and pollutants from the surface of the water. Designed for use in marinas, the aim of the Seabin is to prevent marina rubbish from travelling out to the open ocean.

Aussie surfers design Seabin
The Seabin is made from recycled plastic and natural fiber. [Image courtesy The Seabin Project]

The Seabin is made from recycled plastic and natural fiber.
[Image courtesy The Seabin Project][/caption]

The two surfers initially received assistance from a Western Australian seed investment organization called Shark Mitigation Systems. Using their initial grant, they designed the Seabin prototype in Perth, Western Australia, before taking it to market in Mallorca, Spain. Mallorca has one of the largest and busiest marinas in the world, and a huge and chronic problem with ocean waste. Marina rubbish accounts for a significant percentage of ocean pollutants. Regulations vary from country to country, as marinas are by their very nature within the jurisdiction of local authorities. There are many marinas around the world that will experience periodic influxes of thousands of small craft, and between accidents, carelessness, and lax regulation, these can create mini-islands of garbage that eventually become part of the broader marine life cycle. It is this pattern that Turton and Ceglinski are trying to break.

The Seabin works on a very simple principle. A funnel-shaped bucket and natural fiber bag bobs on the surface, with a connection to a shore or vessel-based water pump that keeps a constant flow of water through the Seabin, thus attracting rubbish and even oil and pollutants into the catchment opening. From this we can see that the Seabin is basically a roaming version of a swimming pool skimmer box, but with the added advantage that it will continue to work even when its bag is full. The venturi effect of the water flow will continue to attract any rubbish it encounters, pinning it to the side of the Seabin and moving with it.

The Seabin Project is not just a great innovation for cleaning the ocean – it’s also an example of the power of crowdfunding. The Seabin Project’s current phase is largely being funded through sites like Indiegogo, where Pete and Andrew are looking for sufficient funds to put the prototype into production. The project, at time of writing, has raised over $36,000, with the first $25,000 building up in just over three days. One of the YouTube videos showing the prototype in action has attracted over 10 million views, mostly from European viewers. Marinas in the Riviera, Spain, and Greece have chronic problems pollution originating from marinas — Europe is home to some of the busiest marinas in the world, with events like the Grand Prix attracting superyachts and other small crafts from all over the world. Pete Ceglinski spoke about their decision to opt for crowdfunding.

“We want to build it in the most sustainable and ecologically responsible way we can, but to do that it’s quite expensive so we thought to give crowd funding a go.”

The two Aussie surfers are now a long way from home, having set up a research and development facility in Mallorca, Spain. According to their spokesman, Richard Talmage, the Seabin has attracted the interest of several large manufacturers after its showing at METSTRADE, which is the largest marine industry convention in the world. Should their venture prove successful, the Seabin could be in production and on the market by the end of 2016.

[Image via YouTube Screen Capture]