55 tons of ocean plastic collected from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to be recycled into Kia’s electric vehicles!
If Captain Cook had set off on his legendary voyages in his bid to uncover the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean now, there's a very good chance the British explorer would've watched the sea give way for puzzling patches of bleached floating masses, as far as the eye could see.
Cook would've been confused by this weird substance, but to a modern-day individual, it is an all-too-familiar sight. The sailor has come across the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the two Great Pacific Garbage patches that sprawl a total of over 1.6 million square kilometres — half the size of India!
These gigantic patches pose a huge problem to the ecosystem, and disperse mountains of microplastics into the ocean, which then make their way up the food pyramid and into us. To help clean up this mess, The Ocean Cleanup, an international non-profit was born.
Recently the organisation managed to remove 11,000 kg of waste within a single extraction. With this being a daily operation, you'd have to wonder what happens to all the trash that is hauled week after week.
According to The Ocean Cleanup, they aspire to give their plastic "a new life". This is accomplished by upcycling the collected ocean plastic into useful products. In fact, they have even launched recycled sunglasses that can be bought from their website.
In addition, many companies have begun buying the collected plastic for use in their own companies as well. Most notably and recently, the car manufacturer Kia entered a deal with The Ocean Cleanup to use recycled plastic from a recent 55-ton haul in their new electric vehicles.
This agreement has flagged the beginning of a seven-year partnership of both companies and is part of Kia's commitment to enhanced plastic reuse and achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. The company has already begun upcycling plastic in many car parts, such as the EV9 model which incorporates roughly 34 kilograms of recycled plastic and eco-friendly materials.
In addition to Kia, The Ocean Cleanup is partnered with a plethora of distinguished (and often controversial) companies that help keep the gears grinding for the ocean scrubber. This includes the likes of the Coca-Cola Company, which is helping place interceptors along rivers to collect trash, and Maersk, which continues to provide The Ocean Cleanup with many seafaring vessels to facilitate their cleanup operations.