Danone partners with The Ocean Cleanup Project to remove plastic pollution from rivers

Evian, through its parent company Danone, has forged a partnership with Dutch startup The Ocean Cleanup Project in order to develop and scale up innovations aimed at "catching" and removing plastic debris from rivers and waterways.

Danone partners with The Ocean Cleanup Project to remove plastic pollution from rivers

The R&D project has been in the works for two years. Image: The Ocean Cleanup Project

Danone revealed today (28 October) that it has been working with The Ocean Cleanup Project for the past two years, supporting its mission to research and develop a scalable technology capable of capturing plastic of all sizes from rivers and waterways.

The result of this R&D project is Interceptor – a solar-powered device consisting of a “floater” that sits on the surface of the water, combined with a skirt attached below. The Interceptor is designed to capture plastics of all sizes, from microplastics to large debris such as fishing nets, utilising the natural flow of the waterway to guide debris to its opening.

Crucially, the Interceptor is attached to a catamaran and is designed to only span part of the river. This means it can be used while allowing marine life and other vessels to pass by.

Danone’s support has enabled The Ocean Cleanup Project to launch a prototype Interceptor in Indonesia, and to analyse and categorise the debris it collected. These exercises, the company claims, has helped the Project to better understand the challenges in extracting and treating the waste that is collected. There are now two full-scale interceptors in operation in Asia, with The Ocean Cleanup Project estimating that its solution could extract up to 50,000 kg of plastic waste daily if scaled up to cover the world’s 1,000 most polluted rivers.

“Earlier this month, we were pleased to announce that The Ocean Cleanup had successfully started capturing and collecting plastic debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” The Ocean Cleanup Project’s founder and chief executive Boyan Slat said.

“But with millions of tonnes of plastic waste finding its way into our oceans every year, it’s clear that, in addition to solving the legacy problem in the ocean gyres, we also need to address the issue of ocean plastic pollution at the source.”

As for Evian, the move to back The Ocean Cleanup Project forms part of the brand’s targets to become a circular business by 2025 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.

Evian’s 2025 ambition notably includes pledges to use 100% recycled content in its plastic packaging and to work with the waste management sector to ensure 100% recyclability. The firm is also exploring refill offerings, having recently piloted a refillable in-home water appliance and a range of glass bottles designed in partnership with Virgil Abloh.

Sarah George  

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie