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Floating rubbish bins debut in Helsinki harbours next spring

A floating rubbish bin that sucks plastics, paper, oil, fuel and detergent from marina water will be trialled off the coast of Helsinki next summer. Invented by two Australian surfers, the trash-eating Seabin is made of recycled materials.

Australialaiset Peter Ceglinski ja Andrew Turton esittelevät kehittelemäänsä kelluvaa meriroskista, joka kerää muun muassa muovijätettä merestä. Helsinkiin tuleva meriroskis on isompi ja vähän erinäköinen.
Australians Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski created the Seabin to collect trash in the ocean. The prototype that will be taken into use in Helsinki harbours will be bigger and reportedly look slightly different. Image: Wärtsilä / Seabin

Starting in April 2017, two floating rubbish bins will be lowered into the sea off of Helsinki to start collecting harmful refuse from the water.

Built from recycled materials, the Seabin is built to fix onto to a dock, with a 12-volt submersible water pump running on power from the shore. The pump creates a flow of water that sucks all of the floating rubbish and debris inside the bin. There is it collected in a natural fibre bag, before the water is pumped back out.

Built as a cheap and low maintenance alternative to boats that collect trash from marine areas, it catches everything floating: from plastic bottles to paper, oils, fuel and detergent.

Future product development aims at powering the pump with solar, wind or wave power.

Aussies clean the water

The Spanish start-up Seabin is the maker of the bin, and the project is the brainchild of two Australians, Peter Ceglinski and Andrew Turton. The men came upon rubbish everywhere in the water when they were surfing and sailing, and two years ago they decided to do something about it.

The floating Seabin is still in the development stage, and prototypes are being tested in several locations. In Helsinki, the Seabin Project will last three months, with three other European port cities joining in: La Grande Motte in southern France, Porto Montenegro in Montenegro and Port Adriano in Mallorca, Spain.

At the end of the three-month trial, the company will decide when and how commercial sales of the Seabin will begin.

Wärtsilä is the Helsinki sponsor

The Finnish marine industry technology group Wärtsilä has signed an agreement with the Seabin Project to join their global pilot. The Finnish company was the first company to sign on to the three-year project, and is sponsoring both the city and the post of Helsinki’s involvement.

In addition to the two pre-series Seabins during the trial period, Wärtsilä has committed to investing in four additional Seabins for Helsinki after commercial sales begin. The City of Helsinki and the Port of Helsinki will be responsible for daily maintenance of the equipment.

Microplastics are ruining the ocean

The effect that plastic is having on our environment and ecosystems is staggering. It is estimated that by 2025 there will be 1 tonne of microplastic in the ocean for every 3 tonnes of fish.

Earlier this month, a beached whale in Norway made the news when it was revealed to have a stomach full of plastic.

Large amounts of plastic waste that was reportedly left over from the metro expansion project was also found on Helsinki sea shores last summer.

The developers of the Seabin report that the V5 Seabin prototype that is currently being manufactured is designed for marinas and calm areas only.  The plan is to eventually modify the technology for wider use in oceans and seas.

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