Solving the marine Micro Plastic problem

Micro Plastic waste is not something that can likely be resolved in a generation but innovation will certainly help


In our recent “The truth about Micro Plastics” article we highlighted that finding a true solution to the problem of micro plastic material is hampered by a documented “significant knowledge gap”. If this is the case, we asked how can a way forward be found?

Well what if the solution – or at least part of the solution – has already been resolved?

Last month Suzuki launched the world’s first micro-plastic collecting filter device for installation on their outboard motors. According to their press release a substantial amount of micro plastic waste was found within the substances collected in the filter during their monitoring research. Suzuki will introduce their device as an optional fitting next year, however the longer term plan is to make it a standard feature on all of their outboard motors going forward. 

The research findings are the important bit. If one small outboard engine can collect a traceable amount of marine micro plastic waste, without affecting its performance, imagine what could be achieved if a similar filter system device was encouraged in all operations that pump seawater as a means of cooling and desalinising. 

For example, power stations, oil rigs, passenger liners and container ships all utilise and pump tonnes of seawater before returning it back to our oceans. Just think how many tonnes of micro plastic material could accumulate in filters on these kinds of scales. So let’s say it might take a 100 years to make a difference to the state of our oceans but this would be a step in the journey.

But what about the micro plastic material itself? Would there be a market for what is collected? 

We believe so. 

As consumers become more educated about single use plastics and the demand for recycled plastic products increases, the demand for micro plastic material will likely increase also. As a result, this filtering activity will not only be impacting positively on our natural environment but contribute to a circular economy.

We are still a long way off solving the problem of micro plastic waste. It is not something that can be resolved overnight or even in a generation but innovation from companies like Suzuki will certainly help.

If we are all conscious of the part we play in tackling the environmental costs of our activities and the products we develop and launch, we can act positively to improve the use and disposal of plastics.

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We are a full service agency who are very conscious of the part we play in tackling the environmental costs of launching new products. If you are likeminded and have an idea you want to take to market, we will assist and support you throughout the product development process.