Smart bins of the sea: City of Melbourne uses Seabin technology

City of Melbourne

Wednesday, 15 January, 2020

Smart bins of the sea: City of Melbourne uses Seabin technology

Following a successful trial last year, the City of Melbourne has installed five floating Seabins at Yarra’s Edge Marina to help stop litter washing into the Yarra River at Docklands.

Seabins were created by two Australian boat builders and surfers, Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton. Since 2017, their company The Seabin Project has sold around 860 units in more than 30 countries.

The Seabin unit acts as a floating garbage bin skimming the surface of the water by pumping water into the device. It can intercept: floating debris, macro and micro plastics and even micro fibres with an additional filter.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said: “Unfortunately an estimated 1.4 billion pieces of rubbish flow into Port Phillip Bay from the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers each year.”

Each Seabin is capable of collecting around 1.5 tonnes of plastic per year — that’s 90,000 plastic bags, 35,700 disposable cups, 16,500 plastic bottles and 166,500 plastic utensils per year. The Seabin V5 is easily equipped with oil-absorbent pads able to absorb petroleum-based surface oils and detergent predominant in most marinas around the world.

“Using Seabins we can collect up to 200 kilograms of rubbish a day. The Seabin units catch cigarette butts and plastic packaging as well as oil, detergents and micro plastics that can’t be seen by the human eye,” Lord Mayor Capp said.

The Seabins are emptied twice daily and data is sent to Seabin Foundation’s Pollution Index and Tangaroa Blue to help monitor the impact of debris along Australia’s coastline as well as to inform City of Melbourne strategies for litter reduction. These include street-cleaning, litter traps, water-sensitive urban design and stormwater capture.

The Victorian Government also manages 18 litter traps on the Yarra River, nine of which are located within the City of Melbourne.

The Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Cathy Oke, said food wrappers, cigarette butts, polystyrene, plastic bottles and rubber are some of the items that have been collected in the Seabins at Docklands.

“Water quality begins with people disposing of rubbish more carefully in our streets and suburbs. The Seabins need to be seen as the last line of defence before waste enters the bay,” Cr Oke said.

The Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Seabin Project, Pete Ceglinski, said the ‘smart bins’ have collected an estimated 1,000,000 kilograms of plastic in the last 12 months from locations in the 52 countries.

“The global fleet currently filters 500 million litres of water each day for micro plastics, plastic fibres, oil and more,” Ceglinski said.

“The deployment of the Seabin fleet with City of Melbourne is a critical first step in obtaining our objective of working with local, state and federal governments globally. Our ethos is simple, ‘if we have rubbish bins on land, why not in the water?’

“With a focus on smart solutions for smart cities, we feel that the Seabin technology coupled with prevention has a significant role to play in reducing the amount of floating waste entering our oceans.”

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