When we first developed the plan for the Great Sea Project, we had envisioned a network of teams, groups and like minded individuals collecting plastics and shipping to a central location. This is the point we were stuck on. Often the locations are off the beaten path, are only accessible by plane or ship - so how do we get over this logistical challenge?
How do we make it financially viable to collect #oceanplastic and recover, without a huge logistics network? Based on the amount of plastics at our first location - #CearulaMar , within a year of collecting we would have pallets upon pallets of recovered plastic. The cost alone to ship off island would be detrimental for the project and certainly less effective. That is when it hit us - for long term sustainability, if there is no recycling on the island (which we knew) then, we would bring recycling to the island. The SCR unit was born from the need to have a long term #sustainable project.
We set out to design and build a #recycling plant, that was portable (cost effective) and would require very little maintenance. Starting with a used shipping container we knew it was sturdy, portable, could be easily modified and would require little maintenance - not to mention easy to acquire and cost effective.
We decided we would include, a wash table, grinder/ shredder and storage. It is also powered by a generator (for now). Looking at solar for the future. This allows us to house in remote locations without the need for infrastructure. With all of the research and development in February 2020 we acquired a 20ft used shipping container, cut it in half, added a door and we were off to the races.
The project was ambitious as the parts and tools we wanted, did not exist, at least not for the purposes we wanted them for or the scale we needed. The next few months, a lot of welding, machining and our unit finally came together.
The unit will now allow us to take all the plastics recovered or diverted (community program) and reduce the volume to a manageable size. Instead of pallets of compacted plastic, we clean, shred and sort onsite - pack in burlap bags and ship the same volume way more efficiently and for a fraction of the cost.
The first unit was completed in May 2020 and landed at our project location in South Andros, Bahamas on July 17th. Over the next year we will log amounts of plastic by type, by colour and by origin - allowing us to be more efficient / effective and to tell the story of the plastic.
The unit allows us to have long term sustainability, along with the community program Great Sea Project is bringing recycling to a corner of the Caribbean where it did not exist a month ago.