Australian clean-tech startup, Seabin Project, is taking its next big step towards eliminating plastics in our waterways with the launch of a self-funded 12-month City Pilot in Sydney Harbour this week.
Off the back of its successful crowdfunding campaign with Birchal, which raised over $1.71 million from community investments, Seabin's new City Pilot aims to create employment in the environmental sector post Covid-19 and to ultimately provide litter reduction and prevention by removing between 28 tons and 56 tonnes per year of marine litter including microplastics, oil, fuel, and plastic fibres in Sydney Harbour.
The project was launched at Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont, Sydney on 7 July, with attendees at the outdoor demonstration including City of Sydney councillors, and representatives from Maritime Sydney and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.
PKN was there and spoke to CEO and co-founder of Seabin Project, Pete Ceglinski, who said the city pilot is the first step in a scaling plan that, with state government support, could see up to 20 new jobs created in NSW for the environmental sector.
The project will be self-funded for twelve months, but Ceglinski told PKN he hopes that the data accumulated after the first three months on the volume of water filtered and, importantly, the debris collected, will help build a credible case for why the City of Sydney, and also local government departments, should invest taxpayer's money in scaling up Seabin in NSW waterways.
Seabin then plans to replicate the services program nationwide and ultimately worldwide.
Ceglinski acknowledged that self funding such a large project as this Sydney City Pilot is a calculated risk. He told PKN, “We are confident we can pull this off, but we definitely need the support from the city, community and all the key stakeholders.”
“The fastest way to a solution is collaboration,” Ceglinski said. “It's is everybody's problem, and that includes brand owners who don't want to see their branded plastic packaging polluting our waterways.”
The objective of the city pilot is to provide a comprehensive services package that includes Cleanup, Prevention & Measurable Impact for marine litter. Over the 12-month trial period, it is estimated that over 4.1 billion litres of water will be filtered from fuel, oil, and other surface pollutants.
“The act of cleaning up is simply not enough,” he added. “To turn off the tap, we are putting an equal focus on litter reduction, prevention, clean up and will use our Pollution Index data program for monitoring with the intention of filling key knowledge gaps needed for informed decision making.”
Seabin Project’s City Pilot includes locations across Sydney, from Manly Wharf to Rose Bay and across to Pyrmont. In addition to the 16 existing units cleaning up Sydney harbour, Seabin Project will also provide three additional units that have been sponsored by Australian Ethical & Patagonia for two new locations which will receive daily maintenance from Seabin’s newly appointed enviro technician, Tom Batrouney.
“During the height of the Covid-19 crisis, as the stock markets tumbled, we raised an impressive $1.7 million from over 1500 community investors, and this proved to us that environmental concerns and the need for solutions are long term. Instead of firing people and sitting idle, we started hiring and are doubling down on our business objectives,” Ceglinski said.
Beyond collecting and removing marine litter, Seabin Project hopes that this program will result in a long sought-after and beneficial contract with the City of Sydney, NSW EPA , NSW Crown Lands and NSW Roads & Maritime Services. Seabin also hopes to replicate similar service contracts across other major harbour based cities in Australia and Internationally.
In addition to the service contracts, the Pollution Index data monitoring reports will be available for the City of Sydney, EPA, United Nations Environment, community activities, impact reporting, marketing and CSR purposes.
Click here to see a video on the City Pilot.