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VICTORIA, BC: The Ocean Cleanup, The Netherlands-based non-profit technology company, has completed its proof of concept by collecting 28,659 kilos of trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with support from two Maersk offshore supply vessels.

The ‘Garbage Patch is bound by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre – formed by the California, North Equatorial, Kuroshio, and North Pacific currents that rotate clockwise around an area of 20 million square kilometers.

Eight years after its founding and three years since launching its first cleanup system, the Ocean Cleanup says it has effectively harvested plastic with a scalable ocean design and will now begin developing a larger, upgraded ‘System 003’ as a blueprint.

The design, with a length of 2.5 kilometers, will incorporate insights collected from the ‘System 002’ test that has collected lavatory seats, toothbrushes, laundry baskets, shoes, crates, sleds and discarded fishing gear.

As the organisation switches from testing to cleanup mode, it plans to deploy 10 systems capable of reducing 50 percent of the gyre every five years. To authenticate claims of origin and amount, all harvested plastic will be tracked, traced, and verified by certification body DNV.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program has estimated it would take 67 ships one year to clean up less than one percent of the North Pacific Ocean.

“We are proud to support The Ocean Cleanup with offshore and logistics services and expertise as our long-term partnership reaches a significant milestone with the success of the first large-scale clean-up system returning to port with trash collected,” said Mette Refshauge, VP Corporate Communications & Sustainability at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Maersk says it is experimenting with low-carbon fuels in a bid to offset carbon emissions from the System 002 campaign and reach carbon neutrality.

The floating plastic in the 'Garbage Patch inspired National Geographic Emerging Explorer David de Rothschild to create a large catamaran made of plastic bottles: the Plastiki. In 2010 the vessel sailed from San Francisco to Sydney to demonstrate the strength and durability of plastic, the creative ways it can be repurposed, and the threat it poses to the environment.
 
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