Session Chair: Rachael Miller, The Rozalia Project

This session will lead to inspiration and fresh ideas from organizations who are implementing unique solutions oriented marine debris initiatives for people working across the marine debris spectrum.

It is difficult to keep track of the myriad ideas, projects and innovations happening that are related to marine debris, much less have an opportunity to speak with the innovators. Currently, there are organizations who are pushing forward technology and techniques that have the potential to make a big impact when it comes to solution finding and implementation.

This session will give attendees an opportunity to hear from some of those innovators whose programs or ideas are viable and exciting, but not necessarily in the spotlight. This session will benefit the conference by highlighting high quality programs whose innovations could prove important to many of the conference attendees. These are more than inventions but also processes and techniques that can have measurable benefit to our oceans, lakes and rivers becoming free of marine debris.




MantaRay II: A second generation autonomous real-time sampling instrument for the quantification of marine microplastic debris

presenting: Ethan Edson (Northeastern University, United States); authors: Ethan Edson (Northeastern University, United States), Mark Patterson (Northeastern University)

MantaRay II is an autonomous sampling instrument designed to measure microplastics concentrations in bodies of water. It filters water through an optical detector that sizes particles using a line sensor, and then characterizes detected particles using Raman spectroscopy and machine learning. MantaRay II captures microplastics particles on an internal filter cassette with 30 plates that allows programmable event-triggered sampling. When MantaRay is physically recovered, these collected particles can be further analyzed, e.g., for toxin adsorption. The system fits in a watertight housing that floats at the surface or can be used for vertical distribution studies down to 200 feet. MantaRay has an integrated GPS receiver with Iridium satellite modem connectivity allowing collection of real-time data. Further planned development includes size reduction of the instrument so that it can be integrated onto Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), or attached to ships of opportunity around the world. Autonomous technology like MantaRay will help to fill in data gaps on microplastic concentration and bring the overall cost of data collection down for scientists and the regulatory community going forward.


What screams at you? An unique education and innovation program to address marine debris.

presenting: Rachael Miller (Rozalia Project, United States); authors: Rachael Miller (Rozalia Project, United States), Ashley Sullivan (Rozalia Project)

While on the whole people do not like marine debris, often one part of the marine debris problem doesn’t just speak to people, but really screams at them – such as straws, balloons or single use beverage bottle. There is value in using that specific reaction and emotion to drive solutions. Rozalia Project experienced this firsthand with the problem of microfiber pollution. It screamed at them, so they came up with a human-scale solution, the Cora Ball. The next problem to scream at them was lobster buoys, so they are currently working on a sustainable lobster buoy. During these experiences, Rozalia Project’s educators realized that instead of asking people to help work on the problem of marine debris on the whole, or asking them to work on a problem Rozalia Project thought was important, but perhaps wasn’t that important to them, there is a better strategy.


For the last two years, Rozalia Project has been piloting a new program that brings participants of all ages through a program that starts with a data cleanup but continues past that data cleanup to include data analysis, discussing behavior change, figuring out what part of the marine debris problem screams at people and then working to brainstorm implementable solutions. This session will share more than Rozalia Project’s physical innovations, but include how they’ve taken the experience of developing the Cora Ball and sustainable lobster buoys and parlayed them into an education program that ends in inspired, meaningful and implementable solutions.


De-Risking Ocean Plastic for Major Consumer Brands

presenting: Rob Ianelli (Ocean Works Inc., United States); authors: Rob Ianelli (Ocean Works Inc., United States)

About: Ocean Works is an organization focused on reducing the plastic flowing into our oceans. We harvest plastics from coastal areas where plastic waste is mismanaged and turn that material into durable, long lasting goods. We also support efforts of re-utilization to help turn the tide on the tide of ocean plastics.

How? Ocean Works was born out of Norton Point, an eyewear company that launched a line of ocean plastic sunglasses in June of 2016. Funded on Kickstarter in an astonishing six days, the project raised awareness of ocean plastic worldwide. The products are currently in stores and online. It was the pursuit of this project that opened our eyes to the many disparate elements that needed to be woven together to create a project that makes a difference.

What happened next? Upon the success of Norton Point we were inundated with companies reaching out asking us how to incorporate ocean plastic into their product collections. To our dismay many had already tried to assemble the supply chain pieces themselves and/or do their extensive research. However, major consumer brands were coming to us and essentially stumped, frustrated and ready to give up.

We know immediately the real opportunity for our role in ocean plastics was to make it EASIER and more EFFICIENT for corporations to integrate ocean plastic into their products. That is why we have built the world’s first ocean plastic platform to be a turn-key solution for major global brands.

What’s happening now? Ocean Works will be debuting a number of key apparel brand partners ( think: ocean plastic buttons ) and various other elements to the footwear industry and many more! All of our ocean plastic parts and finished goods have traceability built into the molds ( material type, coordinates of plastic collection, and the year of manufacturing ).


Clean Tax Cuts and the Opportunities to Drive Innovation Across Countries for a Plastic Circular Economy

presenting: Doug Woodring (Ocean Recovery Alliance, Hong Kong); authors: Doug Woodring (Ocean Recovery Alliance, Hong Kong)

One of the commitments Ocean Recovery Alliance made at the UN Ocean Conference in June, 2017, along with Mission Blue, The Grace Richardson Fund, and the IUCN, was to create a regime plan for the introduction of Clean Tax Cuts (CTC) for innovations in plastic sustainability. These are supply-side tax cuts which target primarily capital tax rates investors pay on debt and equity in clean investments (defined as those which reduce waste, inefficiency and negative externalities). Targeting capital tax barriers accelerates capital to and demand for clean solutions simultaneously, by increasing profits and reducing costs of both capital and outputs for those solutions and technologies. CTC employs carrots, not sticks, and picks metrics, not winners or losers. CTC employs only positive (rather than negative) feedback loop mechanisms to reward and accelerate all profitable, sustainable technologies that reduce or monetize waste. This simple, positive design helps CTC align conservative, progressive, consumer and business interests on energy, environmental protection, and economic growth.


Seven other green sectors are being examined as well, including applications for the following sectors and markets: green bonds, electric power, transportation, clean tech, farming and forestry, oil & gas, and energy efficiency in real estate. The potential for CTCs to play a role in driving much needed innovation and technology in the plastic pollution space is significant. CTCs may help drive a variety of plastic waste reduction solutions: source reduction strategies, new, cleaner waste-to-fuel technologies, use of alternative biodegradable materials, and circular economy solutions that make waste plastic a valuable feedstock for other products and fuels, to incentivize plastic waste collection and recycling.


Biodegradation of plastic bags: A technological alternative for preventing marine debris

presenting: Rocio Tijaro-Rojas (Universidad Arturo Prat, Chile); authors: Rocio Tijaro-Rojas (Universidad Arturo Prat, Chile), Sergio Diez (Universidad Arturo Prat), Yassets Egaña (Universidad Arturo Prat), Patricio Nuñez (Universidad Arturo Prat), Juan Carlos Rios

Globally, we produce 1.3 billion tons of waste per year. The daily contribution person is approximately 1.2 kilograms, which is projected to double by the year 2025. Approximately 11% of this waste is plastic, which frequently ends up in the oceans. Plastic pollution is disastrous for oceanic environments, affecting important species and ecology, and also the coastal economic activities in different parts of the world. Plastic waste produced at land affects oceanic ecosystems, due to its durability remains at the sea, been confused as food by animals. Not only wild species are affected, also human consumption resources.

Our research focuses on isolating, genotyping and optimizing microorganisms that use plastic waste as food source to construct dynamic bio-reactors or purify enzymes that can help manage in a faster way the present plastic waste before it gets to the oceans. Preliminary results, under laboratory conditions, has shown an improved degradation of polyethylene when three species of bacteria and three of fungi act on the selected plastic material.


Harnessing the Power of Sport to Tackle the Issue of Ocean Plastic

presenting: Michelle Carnevale (11th Hour Racing, United States); authors: Michelle Carnevale (11th Hour Racing, United States)

In the US, it is estimated that 16% of people follow science, while over 70% follow sport. Utilizing sports and fan engagement to shine a spotlight on environmental issues and sustainability is an emerging trend, aimed at raising awareness among new audiences. This presentation will highlight how one sport is being used to amplify the threat of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Sailors have a special connection to the natural world, as they use the ocean as their workplace. They rely on the oceans for their sport and livelihood; they see living systems as deeply interconnected and can advocate for ways we can improve industries and practices to rapidly reduce the impact of human activities on land and at sea.

The sport of sailing provides a unique opportunity to engage wide audiences around a common area of interest, and concern, and promote positive change among fans, stakeholders and the future generations of leaders and world citizens.

11th Hour Racing, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to promote collaborative, systemic change benefitting the health of the ocean. Since 2010, 11th Hour Racing has been harnessing the power of sport with an innovative and comprehensive approach through three primary areas of engagement: Grants, Partnerships and Ambassadors.

This presentation will highlight 11th Hour Racing’s unique approach to raising awareness to the issue of marine debris, promoting behavior change and innovative solutions through a unique platform. Highlights will be shared from our partnerships in the Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup, and local grant projects tackling marine debris. They also showcase how embedding sustainability in a top-level professional sports team can drive performance, efficiency and innovation.