The world’s first plastic fishing company wants to rid the oceans of plastic pollution. Meet Plastic Whale.
The concept is simple. First, the company fishes out plastic bottles and other debris from Amsterdam’s numerous canals. Second, when enough bottles are collected, the plastic is transformed into material to make a boat. Third, the new boat is used to fish for more plastic bottles—to make more boats. The company already has seven boats and 20 employees. They’re business is growing to include canal cruises where visitors can help scoop plastic trash while touring the city.
Plastic Whale founder and captain Marius Smit says it’s important for people to value plastic and see it as a usable material rather than worthless. He hopes that this shift in thinking will persuade less people to throw their plastic bottles on the ground and into the cities canals.
Since its 2010 launch, the company has fished more than 50,000 plastic bottles and more than 10,000 kilos of various waste from the canals of Amsterdam.
Smit’s inspiration came during a year of traveling and finding plastic debris in the most remote places.
“Twelve years ago I was traveling the world for a year with my girlfriend. We visited beautiful and remote places. And everywhere we came, we saw plastic waste. One day we were staying on a pristine little beach on the North side of Borneo, near Kota Kinabalu. The weather was bad with a lot of on-land wind. When we arrived at the beach it was flooded with plastic debris. I was in shock, because North of Borneo there is nothing but sea for hundreds of miles. That’s when I was first introduced to the plastic soup phenomenon. And I decided that I wanted to do something about it.” – Marius Smit
Smit used social media to connect with others around the world who were also working to address the plastic problem. Imagine a world with more people like Marius Smit. When faced with large, globe-wide challenges, individual actions really can make a difference!