Changing the narrative on environmental services

Next post

How Litter Prevention Will Remove An Estimated 28 Tonnes Of Marine Debris In Sydney Harbour Over The Next 12 Months.  

Environmental services as we know it may be changing – and for the better. Focus is shifting away from the traditional collection, landfill & recycle, and swinging towards litter reduction, prevention, education and a closed loop with clean-up set to become a by-product.  

“Essentially we are looking for a strategic partner to support our efforts at supplying base data to a city or government, data that may be used to create legislation and bring about the change we all want to see” 

Value is now being placed in the analysis of data collection derived from weather, population, and rubbish trends as well as prevention through education. Clean-up is still critical yet seen as the last line of defence in the mission to turn off the tap.  

In response to these growing trends and despite Covid-19 uncertainties, Seabin has employed and created a new type of Enviro Technician – whose role is essentially that of an educator, a champion of litter, ambassador for the environment and yet still a skilled field technician at the core of the Enviro Technicians duties.  

Australian clean tech start-up, Seabin Project, has recently launched a self-funded pilot project to protect Sydney’s iconic harbour from marine litter and pollution while providing much-needed employment in the environment sector. The primary objective of the pilot is on obtaining service contracts with the City of Sydney to create meaningful employment in the environmental sector.   

To do this, Seabin emphasising the use of the innovative Seabin technology to monitor and track data as well as using each clean tech unit as a communication platform for education and prevention. Clean-up is now a very efficient and visual by-product that accelerates solutionsbased activities like the data, prevention and education programs.  

The result of these activities over the next 12 months is a staggering 28 tonnes of marine debris captured, and 4.3 billion litres of water filtered for microplastics, plastic fibres, oil, fuel and more.   

Not bad estimates for a highly visual, semi-automated garbage bin that filters our waterways 24/7 – 365 days per year.  

“To be seen to be doing something about a problem that involves everyone is a critical first step. It may not be perfect, but at least you’re out there addressing the community’s concerns and making a real and measurable effort.”   

“For month 1, July – we captured over 1.16 tonnes. Which is the equivalent of covering 28 football fields with plastic shopping bags. We also reached 5.8 million people, including face to face interactions averaging over 20 people each day. Combining these stats means for every 1 kg of marine debris captured, we reached 4,403 people with what we feel is the right message. That education is the real solution, not technology,” says Pete Ceglinski, CEO & Co-Founder at Seabin Project. 

Polluted corners of Sydney harbour are now being cleaned daily with the installation of the Seabin smart tech, and combining this with the extensive community reach, it’s a powerful formula for much needed behavioural change on land.  

From July 2020 to July 2021, the pilot project will service a fleet of Seabin’s located at marinas and wharves across Manly, Pyrmont, Darling Harbour, Rushcutters Bay and Rose Bay.  

“This pilot project allows us to move from selling Seabin units to being a full environmental service provider across litter reduction, prevention and monitoring. Each Enviro Technician is an educator, an ambassador and a service technician. It really is a fun and meaningful role.” says Pete Ceglinski, CEO and Co-Founder of Seabin Project.

“The visual communication and impact of what the enviro services are providing can be invaluable to any city with waterfront. Behavioural change for plastic pollution is critical, as the last thing we want to do is simply just keep cleaning up.” 

In addition to the 13 existing units cleaning up Sydney Harbour, Seabin Project has also installed three additional units, sponsored by a superannuation fund, Australian Ethical, and clothing brand, Patagonia, across two new locations which will receive daily data entries, community engagement, emptying and maintenance services from Seabin’s newly appointed Enviro Technician, Tom Batrouney 

Ceglinski is now looking to the City of Sydney and NSW Government for support to guarantee the continuation of the project beyond the pilot period.   

“We understand that local and state governments decision-making processes can be complicated and time-consuming, but with the Seabin’s already in the harbour, it was a no brainer, we couldn’t wait, so we just jumped right in to start cleaning up and documenting the marine litter being collected daily,” says Ceglinski.   

“Self-funding a project as large as the Sydney City Pilot is not sustainable for us long term, so it’s a calculated risk, yet we are confident we can pull this off, but we definitely need the support from the city, community and all the key stakeholders.”  

Seabin Project is optimistic that this pilot program will result in long term contracts with the City of Sydney, NSW EPA, NSW Crown Lands and NSW Roads and Maritime Services, along with partnerships and joint ventures with waste and recycling providers such as Lendlease, Sydney Water, Veolia and Licella.   

The city pilot is the first step in a scaling plan that, with state government support, could see more than 20 new jobs created in the environmental sector in NSW alone. Seabin has self-funded the pilot using funds raised from a highly successful equity crowdfunding campaign with Birchal which raised over $1.71 million from community investments at the start of 2020.  

With the successful series A round, Seabin is focused on their next goals and transforming their business model via: 

  • Reshoring manufacturing to Brisbane, Australia  
  • Engineering their next-generation Seabin 6.0 to be made from recycled fishing nets  
  • Developing digital assets for the Pollution Index data platform in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney  
  • Providing new product offerings include service packages for recurring revenue  
  • Providing the base data missing to fill key knowledge gaps for plastic pollution decision making  

Seabin is currently looking for strategic partners to join their mission of cleaner oceans, digital transformation and measurable impact.  

To learn more about the City Pilot please visit here.