Preventing Aquatic Trash From Entering (Back) Into The Ocean
From the United States NOAA’s web site: “Marine debris injures and kills marine life, interferes with navigation safety, and poses a threat to human health. Our oceans and waterways are polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from soda cans and plastic bags to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels.”
Our Smart Mobile Combustor can dispose of 8 of the top 10 items collected by the Ocean Conservancy’s volunteers. In other words, our unit, given its mobility, can be used to get rid of aquatic trash anywhere in the world. Plus, we do have the WTE ability to provide energy if desired.
In particular, we see applicability for the following use cases:
 For A Country With Coastlines and Beaches:
Imagine a semi-trailer truck, as a walking advertisement, as it cruises the two U.S. coasts, going from one beach to another beach within a State or, perhaps, up and down the entire East Coast or West Coast in one direction and then back again. At each stop, volunteers collect aquatic trash, recycling the easy stuff, and destroy the rest and generate energy sent to the grid. No longer is there the need to transport to landfall. Perhaps, no longer are landfills even used.
 For Small Island Developing States:
Imagine a barge that would house our mobile combustor that could travel from island to island in a region or country to collect and dispose of collected aquatic trash as well as other combustible waste with minimal environmental impact– similar, in a way, to a garbage truck collecting residential waste in NYC, but instead of bringing it to landfill, it can be destroyed right away at the island itself with the energy used for off-grid or grid purposes.
 Other Uses:
As described in more depth in our Brief White Paper linked in this blog entry, our unit can be deployed in additional ways when used primarily to destroy aquatic trash:
- For reaching aquatic trash in even more remote locations, normally cost-prohibitive to destroy, such as in areas of Alaska.
- For clearing out aquatic trash on island beaches after big storms and hurricanes
And to maximize ROI, it can also be used during other periods when there is no aquatic trash to collect. The unit can be put to work at a centralized location for large periods of time:
- The unit’s home base could be an existing landfill site or MRF where it can be used, up to 20 hours per day, to dispose of combustible materials normally destined in a landfill where it would decompose into methane and carban dioxide over many years
- For islands, the unit could be used to get rid of accumulated passenger waste generated at island airports, and by cruise ships which dock each day at an island port.
- Units can be brought into disaster areas to clean up residential and commercial construction materials after tornadoes and other natural disasters rather than divert all this material to landfills
THE PROBLEM WE CAN SOLVE
Removing aquatic trash takes an army of volunteers who have to, first, collect the trash on beaches and near waterways, and then arrange for the debris to be transported to the nearest landfill or MRF, if recycling is an option. Cleaning up aquatic trash is expensive, especially if the collected aquatic trash is picked up on a tropical island that already has expensive waste management issues.
From a Peace Corp blogger describing her views of an island: “…all along the coast you would come across garbage: plastic bags, bottles, tin cans, and spare cloth. The tides come in, pick up some of this waste, take it out to sea and either leave out there or redeposit it somewhere else on the coast.”
The annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) has over 600,000 volunteers who in one day in 2013 picked up over 12 million pounds of trash on beaches and waterways throughout the world.
Here are the top 10 items the Ocean Conservancy collected – Only #7 and #10 cannot be destroyed by our Combustor:
Potential Use Cases
We wrote brief writeups for each of these use cases to illustrate the different ways our unit can be deployed, especially due to its mobility.
Our strategic plan is to focus on just one or two areas, initially, based on market receptivity, ROI, and overall socio-economic benefits derived from simultaneously destroying waste and producing energy.
In 2016, we wrote up 3 solutions that showcase the larger global impact of our WTE combustor: For refugee camps, for destroying plastic, and as an alternative to landfill, especially in developing countries.