Plastic waste is a growing, worldwide problem. Part of the problem is that people perceive plastic as a valueless disposable product. Use it once, and then chuck it away!
However, it can be a valuable raw material.
One Startup that has realised the value in plastic waste and is tackling this waste problem in our waterways is Plastic Whale.
In 2011, Marius Smit organised the first Plastic fishing event on Amsterdam's canals, with 450 people joining their first meeting!
A year later, more than 1200 people attended the event on 72 separate boats. Familiar names such as Starbucks, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger have also given their support to subsequent events.
In 2014, Plastic Whale established itself as a business with shareholders, two sponsors and a substantial bank loan enabling them to hire more staff.
Since then, Plastic Whale has gone from strength to strength. They have created:
- boats from the plastic collected from their fishing trips.
- a foundation program to involve local schools in the plastic fishing events.
- their own furniture company creating items from the plastic gathered during their fishing exercises.
Fancy joining one of their plastic fishing exercises in Amsterdam or Rotterdam?
Plastic Whale has started a plastic fishers movement, and the idea is now being used to keep areas of the Thames in London plastic-free.
Each year, many of the 300 tonnes of rubbish collected from the Thames are plastic, predominantly food and drink packaging, which originated from the city streets. Washed into drains, it makes its way into the river.
Once plastic enters the water system, it breaks down into microplastics, enabling it to be eaten by birds, fish, and other animals. Which then enters our food system.
Since 2014 they have collaborated with over 700 organisations, from international businesses to local authorities and community groups, to impact the environment positively.
In 2017 they created the worlds first recycled plastic punt, called the 'Poly-Mer'. They now have 5 plastic fishing punts to take people on the rivers, fishing for plastic and raising awareness of the plastic litter problem.
They run unique litter picking trips in the Docklands that teach volunteers, groups from schools and corporate organisations that ocean plastics are a problem that originates from our homes.
Plastic Fishing is a unique team-building and corporate volunteering opportunity that brings plastics and marine pollution issues to life, right in the heart of London.
Go on!, book your team a fishing trip now.
To date, more than 2,500 people have been Plastic Fishing, collecting over 2,800 plastic bottles from London's Docklands and 300KG of recyclable plastic.
Both these Startups raise awareness of the plastic pollution waterways are experiencing and educate us that we can make a difference as individuals to plastic pollution, as the majority of waste plastic originates from our homes.
Hopefully, they will inspire more people and organisations to start Plastic Fishing in other areas.