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Plastic pollution is a global problem, with piles of debris along coastlines, on roads, in landfills, and floating in waterways. Environmentally conscious companies are looking for ways to clean up clutter while looking for methods to recycle plastic waste into other products. A Dutch company, The Recycled Island Foundation (RIF), is tackling both problems with one solution: litter traps.
According to the RIF website, the motivation for the project came from the knowledge that our waterways are part of the global ecosystem, where everyone benefits or pays the consequences of waste management.
"Plastic pollutes our seas and oceans and has a direct and deadly effect on marine life," said the foundation. “Thousands of birds, seals, turtles, whales and other marine animals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or being strangled with it. With plastics breaking down into smaller particles, it also enters the human food chain. "
Knowing that the majority of ocean pollution comes from rivers that flow into the sea, RIF decided to stop plastic waste before it could travel that far. The foundation trash traps are appropriately named. Supplied with plastic they recycled themselves, the traps filter the water, collect the plastic and prevent the plastic from traveling downstream. The collected plastic is made into durable floating playpens, seating elements, building materials, and even more trash traps.
The trash trap's passive design allows it to float on the river, harbor, or harbor, trapping plastic once it floats inside the trap. The system does not depend on any energy source. Once full, the trap is emptied and usable plastic sorted. The plastic is directed to manufacturing, where it is made into a variety of products. This circular system allows the company to collect materials, clean rivers and manufacture products without waste and at minimal cost.
The RIF has been busy collecting plastic from local waterways for some time. Over a year ago, he opened a prototype in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, called Recycled Park. This floating park is made entirely of recycled plastic collected from the nearby Meuse River. You can read more about that project here.
The initial prototype of the park is an example of how recycled plastic can be used to replicate the marine ecosystem, complete with live plants above and below the park that animals such as snails, earthworms, larvae, beetles and fish call home.
What started as a local movement has gone international. New garbage traps are being manufactured to deal with river waste around the world. Belgium and Indonesia were the first countries to adopt the RIF approach, and the organization is now preparing similar projects in Vietnam, France, the Philippines, Brazil and more. As an example of how the mechanism works, a single garbage trap located in Belgium is emptied twice a week, and the average amount of waste collected is 1.5 cubic meters per month.
The goal is to continue expanding the use of garbage traps to divert plastic from the oceans on a large scale. The future for Litter Trap is bright, with plans to make portable trash traps and trash traps that can collect and hold large amounts of plastic before emptying.
Now, in partnership with international companies, RIF hopes to create products that are in high demand in areas where plastic is collected. RIF is working with innovators to turn plastic into a durable, easy-to-assemble housing material. You are also looking for large-scale 3D printing options using marine plastic. For example, the company offers custom sofas made entirely from reclaimed marine plastic that is 3D printed.
RIF feels that knowledge is power in the campaign to reduce plastic, so it has implemented an educational program that includes ways to reduce plastic consumption, information on proper recycling techniques and the opportunity to participate in clean-up efforts. . He hopes to continue inspiring action and raising awareness of the problem by visiting schools and organizing community events.
When it comes to environmental efforts, the more hands involved in projects, the better. RIF has partnered with dozens of agencies with similar goals, creating a village of like-minded companies that hope to lead the way towards better plastic management and creating durable and reusable products.
- The Recycled Island Foundation
Images via The Recycled Island Foundation