The Plastic Odyssey docked in Malaga's port / ÑITO SALAS

Plastic Odyssey boat sets sail towards a greener future

The vessel, which aims to raise awareness about the alarming amount of plastic in the sea and the importance of recycling, recently made a three-day stop in Malaga Port

JUAN SOTO MALAGA.

The Plastic Odyssey boat, an initiative run in partnership with brands including L'Occitane, Clarins and Après-demain, has just arrived in Malaga's megayacht port, near Muelle Uno. The objective of this initiative is to "clean up the past" and "build the future", acting as a "catalyst" for policy makers and locals alike to encourage them to make more responsible choices when it comes to waste disposal.

The boat's mission is based on three main pillars: promote a recycling culture, manufacture low-cost recycling machines and develop economic models based on social entrepreneurship which create meaningful employment, maintaining a focus on cleaning the environment.

The pioneering vessel moored in Malaga's Muelle Uno port for three days before sailing the international seas again over a period of three years, aiming to alert the global community about the alarming levels of plastic in the sea. Its base port is in the French city of Marseille.

On board the Plastic Odyssey, there is a team of 20 with nine crew members and 11 technicians and researchers. Living up to its eco-friendly name, the vessel has a small recyling plant made of six machines which allows it to continuously recycle materials while on board. On each stop that is made, the Plastic Odyssey team does a small collaborative beach clean up.

Recyling on board the vessel / ÑITO SALAS

"If we start to use technology to recycle plastic, we will not only reduce pollution, but we will also create thousands of jobs", the Plastic Odyssey's CEO and co-founder Simon Bernard said. This optimisitc sentiment resounds throughout the team's crew who are actively involved in the recycling process. In fact, all of the boat's recycling machines are patent free and easy to manufacture so that communities all over the world can use them.

Although the boat only stopped Malaga for three days, the vessel will normally stay moored for three weeks in each location. After departing from the Malaga Port the boat will head towards Tangier, Morocco, where it will aim to raise awareness in the local population. The team will hold conferences and meetings, hosting members from local authorities. The nexts stops will be in Senegal, Guinea and Cape Verde. Morganne Kerdoncuff, one of the boat's crew members says that a long stay was "not necessary in Malaga because there is already a good recycling programme."

Waste at sea

What kind of things are found at sea? Although the voyage has only just started, the team has already found a wealth of plastic bottles and even electric appliances which have not been recycled properly. "Every minute, 20 tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean, and each week we swallow on average five grams of this plastic," they alert.

The plan is for the Plastic Odyssey to cross the Mediterranean over the next three months, then head to the west coast of Africa, followed by Latin America, the Pacific, and the east coast of Africa before finally returning to Marseille. In total, the vessel will make 30 stops. The final objective which they hope to achieve by 2025 is to mass produce recyling hubs.