THE SEABIN PROJECT : Interview with Pete Ceglinski, Managing Director
A curious kitty about any and all plastic pollution solutions, I reached out to the two creative legends responsible for the Seabin Project. Pete Ceglinski, got back to me and after a bit of banter about the state of the oceans and rants on humanity, he agreed to answer a few of my more specific questions on behalf of himself and his business partner, Andy Turton.
First a bit of background, the Seabin is an automated rubbish bin that catches floating rubbish, oil, fuel, and detergents. It is designed for floating docks in the water of marinas, private pontoons, inland waterways, residential lakes, harbours, water ways, ports and yacht clubs. It can even be fitted to super yachts and motor yachts! The pair designed and manufactured a Seabin prototype for their Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which was successful! Now they are working on setting up production of the Seabins.
1. Congrats on surpassing your fundraising goal! Now that you're funded, have you begun manufacturing? Will you meet your goal of shipping by mid to end of the year? Today we sign a terms agreement with French manufacturer Poralu Marine. This document gives Poralu world wide manufacturing and distribution rights. They have factories on 3 continents, Australia, France and Canada. The production phase starts on Monday where we will visit Poralu for technical meetings and further details regarding the commercialisation of the Seabins.
2. One of your goals is to "create seabins from the most sustainable materials and processes available," what are these materials and processes? How will this vary as you recieve more or less funding? We will be manufacturing the Seabins using rotational molding and Polyethylene plastic. We will be working with plastics engineers to enable the highest ratio of recycled PE to produce the seabins. Parley for the Oceans has also agreed to provide us with as much captured ocean plastics as we need to also add to this mix.
3. What demand for seabins will justify establishing a local manufacturing operation? Already we have thousands of emails requiring Seabins. We will produce the first Seabins in the French alps where Poralu Marine is based. From there we envision in the next 1.5 years we will need to produce the Seabins in Canada to satisfy the North American market. We aim to be as responsible as we can manufacturing the Seabins and if we can cut out shipping and increase local economy then we will strive to do this.
4. How does the seabin avoid sucking bugs or surface creatures into the catch bag? And/or what was determined at the meeting with your "marine biologist on 22 of Dec to start a study on microscopic marine life?” The Seabins suck anything floating on the surface of the water into the Seabins. If a fish goes in then the fish is simply caught in the natural fibre catch bag which is submersed in water. From there it will simply be thrown back into the water when changing the catch bag. We will be looking into incorporating fish deterrent technology into the seabins also. The outcome of the meeting with the marine scientist regardingh the effect of Seabins on marine life is in his words “unlikely” due to the location of the Seabins in polluted corners of harbours and ports, but we will be collecting data and monitoring the Seabins in action anyways.
5. Have you tried solar powered pumps? No not yet. One step at a time. We will be looking into this in the very near future.
6. Can you tell us how you would convert captured plastics into energy? Why not recycle them? Most ocean cleanup or beach cleanup groups put their collected trash into recycling bins. This trash is either taken to a land fill site and dumped or plastics are incinerated after selecting a small percentage of plastics for recycling. We aim to setup a program where we will keep the plastics the Seabins have captured to reuse and make other products with. It may take some time to do this properly as there are many logistical issues, but it's one of our goals. In the meantime it's a regulation for most marinas to have recycling bins that the waste is sorted into.
7. What is the distribution plan? Are you giving them away, or who gets seabins first? The first production Seabin will go to Americas Cup team Landcover BAR racing. Then the 8 crowdfunding supporters will receive theirs. After this, La Grande Motte marina in southern France will receive Seabins as will anyone else who pre-orders a Seabin.
8. What is the best way to help? Go to our local harbours/marinas and ask our Yacht Clubs and Members to invest in a seabin? Most marinas around the world are all aware of the Seabin Project. The best way to help is by picking up any litter on the streets, purchasing less plastics and when you do purchase plastics then you can make a difference by disposing of these products responsibly. Many small actions bring change.
9. Do they still cost just shy of $4k? The price is to be announced now that we are setting up a production of Seabins.
10. Are there any currently installed and operating in the world? Are they proving quite effective? Not at the moment. The prototype has been pulled out of the water and under development as we speak.
11. Tell me about "The Sea," the creative design space you've been working out of in Spain! It sounds amazing! I found an old broken down factory and with my savings, I renovated it with all my friends. Its a great place with over 350 square meters of floor space. A communal workshop downstairs, an event gallery in front and a design studio with communal kitchen up the top.
12. What is the most disturbing or powerful statistic that you have learned about plastic pollution? That our animals are dying of suffocation by congesting plastic bags that us humans have carelessly thrown in the streets. That we, the humans, are trashing our very source of life, the ocean. Too many statistics to write about.
13. This might help reduce trash already floating in the sea, but what can people do before it gets to this step? We need to change our plastics culture and start to take responsibility for our own actions instead of blaming others. Its not some big companies fault that a drink can is floating in the ocean. The fault is at the consumer who purchased it and discarded it irresponsibly or left it at the beach or tossed it out the car window. A biodegradable drink cup will still choke and kill a marine animal because it wasn’t disposed of properly.