Founded with a single purpose to put an end to the plastic trash ending up in the sea, The Great Bubble Barrier creates a barrier to stop the plastics from flowing past and, while letting fishes and ships pass through the barrier.
This women-led startup was founded by Anne Marieke Eveleens, Francis Zoet and Saskia Studer in 2017 in Amsterdam. It has won the Postcodeloterij Green Challenge, receiving a prize of €500k and they voice the message from the Ellen McArthur foundation that if we don’t take an action right now, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
By 2025, the startup aims to remove 86,300 tonnes of the plastics from the rivers globally, starting in the Netherlands and the EU, wishing to expand to South-east Asia, where the majority of plastic pollution takes place.
Recently, The Great Bubble Barrier won the 2018 people choice award at TEDx Amsterdam Award. On winning Francis Zoet, CTO, Co-founder, feels, “We feel very honoured that the audience voted and selected us as the winner. I was very humbled.”
Expansion plans for 2018 and beyond
The Great Bubble Barrier completed crowdfunding successfully back in May with €55,584 on the clock and more than 1240 donors. According to Zoet, “We are still looking for parties who want to start implementing the Bubble Barriers.” Back in September, the startup also won the ‘Postcode lottery green challenge’ funding with the prize money of €500,000.
The company is planning to expand its foothold to other markets including the UK and Germany since they feel it can make an impact there as well. She also added, “Further, we want to bring The Great Bubble Barrier to Asia as soon as possible since eight of the 10 most polluted rivers in the world are located over there.”
South East Asia by 2020
Zoet noted that the company is in talks with several parties across various countries and the tentative timeline for SE Asia is expected around 2020 or 2021. In this process, the company recovers a valuable resource and brings it back into the plastic value chain, reducing the need for virgin plastic materials in the future and thereby reducing CO2.
Handling the plastics!
About handling plastics, Zoet explained, “We hope to get a better purpose for them (plastics) by researching various factors like the type of plastic, amount of damage it endures, the contamination with organic material and determine if it still has sufficient value to recycle to get the best second life possible. We will always make sure it doesn’t end up in the environment again.”
Right now the startup is focussing more on implementing as many Bubble Barriers in the water to show the impact it can create. According to Francis Zoet, the vision of The Great Bubble Barrier is to stop all plastic from reaching the ocean.
Furthermore, the company want to increase awareness about the rise in plastic pollution in the ocean. Change and awareness within a society need time and are the basis for solving the plastic problem. She added, “Our next big step is the first permanent implementation of the Bubble Barrier in 2019.”
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