Today’s Solutions: January 28, 2023

After months of researchfailures, and reconfigurations, and weeks spent at sea traveling to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and back, The Ocean Cleanup’s device—a 2,000 foot-long floating tube that skims the surface of the water to catch plastic trash—has returned to shore. And with it, it brought back 60 bags, sized one cubic meter, full of plastic trash, everything from fishing nets to plastic bags to microplastics one millimeter in size.

For Boyan Slat, who first presented the concept of his device at a TEDx talk in 2012, the first successful round of cleaning represents a huge milestone as there have been quite a few hiccups along the way this past year.

Now that it’s actually working—pulling debris from the giant vortex of trash that has collected in the pacific ocean—the next step for the organization is turning that plastic into sustainable products, so it can help fund future missions.

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