Clean Currents is a supplier of ocean plastic based in Washington, D.C. We’ve developed the first 3D printer filament made from ocean plastic and will soon offer pellets, thread, and more.
Our filament is PETG, comes in Black, White, and Clear colors, as well as 1.75mm and 2.85mm diameters, and is great quality with no impurities whatsoever, it prints just like a normal filament. Visit our Kickstarter and back if you believe in our mission.
Every year over 18 Billion pounds of plastic empty into our oceans, adding onto the 5 trillion pieces already there. We’re beginning to see this pollution creep into our water supply and our food in the form of “micro-plastics”. These materials take centuries to decompose and once they break up, we lose track of them forever. That’s why it’s so important we act as soon as possible, this problem has a time limit.
The good news is that ocean plastic has received a lot of attention recently, companies like The Final Straw and The Ocean Cleanup Project have alerted millions to the problem. The bad news is that not nearly enough is being done to actually stop the problem.
How we plan to fix the problem is by democratizing ocean plastic. We’re making ocean plastic accessible and easy to use so that anyone who wants to incorporate it into their work can with just one click.
We know that we could never sell billions of ocean plastic products by ourselves, but collectively, we think the world can. We envision thousands of teams utilizing these materials in new, creative ways and, as a whole, making a huge impact on the global problem.
One of our main concerns is with having an overall positive impact. We want to avoid having a heavy carbon-footprint and altogether being inefficient with our recovery effort.
The majority of ocean plastic can be easily prevented from ever making it into the ocean. Many of our recovery methods don’t focus directly on collecting plastic from the middle of an ocean because that’s not where most of it actually is. The most important locations are rivers and beaches.
We’re focusing on what has been proven to work in the past like keeping costs low, working with locals as much as possible, and creating sustainable long-term progress.
Haiti’s population is spread out pretty uniformly over the country, except for their capital, Port-Au-Prince, where 2.3 million people live. The city’s growth has led to the creation of the infamous Trutier dump. Over 800 tons of plastic and garbage are emptied into this dump every single day; why this should matter to you is because this dump is only 200 feet from the sea.
Heavy rain or flooding is all it takes to wash literally thousands of tons of plastic into the ocean all at once. This is the ugly truth of ocean plastic: 80% of it originates from these kinds of land-based sources.
The entirety of Haiti imports roughly 40,000 pounds of plastic each day. The first goal for our Haiti operation is to equal that amount in recovery: exporting 40,000 pounds of plastic every day. Surprisingly, this would only require one shipping container of our recycled material leaving the port every 24 hours.
This is absolutely achievable! With our mixture of recovery methods like collection centers, beach sifters, river skimmers, and trawlers we project being able to reach this 40,000 lbs/day goal within 3 years.
Haiti is the best place to start our cleanup effort; it has an abundance of beaches and rivers so we can test and implement our new recovery machines, it’s located relatively close to our headquarters in the United States, minimizing shipping time back and forth, and, most importantly, it’s the largest contributor of ocean plastic in the entire Caribbean. By fixing Haiti’s plastic problem, we would be having a massive impact on the whole region.
Our Kickstarter goal is $15,000; we plan to use this money to achieve 3 main objectives:
• Create a permanent presence in Haiti. Moving past our partnerships with local organizations, we will be able to collect the pollution ourselves by establishing a collection center and by installing our clean-up machines in strategic locations like congested rivers, canals, and beaches.
• Purchase the manufacturing equipment necessary to produce our 3D Printer filament on a large scale. Quality machines create quality products; that’s why we’re planning on spending a third of what we raise in Kickstarter on the machinery alone.
• Complete an in-depth, first-of-its-kind survey of Haiti’s ocean plastic problem. Part of our philosophy is that to create a complete solution, you need to have a complete picture of what the problem is in the first place. This kind of survey has never been done before, even the most recent, and most cited survey of Haiti’s plastic pollution completed by Dell last year relies mainly on satellite images, not first-hand experience (Dell Report). This report will cover all of Haiti’s rivers, beaches, and coastline and will be made public for free so everyone working on the problem can have access to the best information possible. Armed with this survey, everyone will be able to know exactly where the pollution is.
Clean Currents started out with a very different mission; we wanted to create reusable water bottles from recycled ocean plastic. But as we worked and researched, we kept hitting walls. There was no shortage of businesses that wanted to use these materials, but no one was supplying it.
One company would have required us to purchase 500 tons as a minimum order (about $300,000) and another would only lease us their patented nets for $20,000 a year.
We thought that if there were so many barriers and roadblocks to make even a simple water bottle out of ocean plastic, how many other small businesses were being prevented from making their products out of these materials.
We were misled when we started Clean Currents, we believed that this problem was already being solved by companies around the world, but it isn’t.
Disappointed and frustrated, our team gathered around a whiteboard and asked: “What should happen when someone wants to use ocean plastic? Ideally, what would the process look like?”
What we arrived at was a simple plan. Clean Currents takes care of recovery, recycling, and transportation 100% and ships ocean plastic in useful forms like 3D printer filament and spools of thread directly to you.
Anywhere in the world, you can buy as little as one pound of our materials, it will arrive at your doorstep just like a normal package.
We started Clean Currents believing this solution already existed when we found out that it didn’t we knew we had to be the ones to make it a reality.
Author: Adam Smith
(Founder, Clean Currents)
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