Our Solution

 

The Renew Oceans strategy leverages science, technology, and human capital to achieve our ambitious goals.

 

Regions challenged by plastic pollution share a variety of systemic infrastructure, financial, and attitudinal hurdles that our approach aims to overcome. 

A lack of adequate waste management infrastructure can mean that locals are not provided central or strategically placed opportunities for waste disposal, making retrieval of waste nearly impossible. And in densely populated areas, this problem persists cumulatively by the minute, as rigid and soft plastic waste builds on land and in the water and becomes part of the local landscape in these regions.

Adding to the infrastructure issues is the absence of community awareness of proper waste disposal practices. Coupled with cultural practices that can be at odds with cleanup strategies, the plastic pollution problem—especially soft plastic pollution—becomes even worse. 

Recycling of solid plastics like water bottles is a prevalent practice. However, soft and flexible plastics carry little or no market value due to lack of incentives and accessible conversion infrastructure. As a result, local waste pickers do not collect these materials.

Renew Oceans will focus on all plastics for our project, innovating in three key areas to achieve our goals: Collection, Conversion, and Community.

 
 
 
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Collection

We will improve collection of all plastic waste in our projects—both solid and soft plastics.

Typically, solid plastics like plastic bottles have a high recycling value, and collection is widespread and commonplace.

However, soft plastics such as plastic bags, wrappers, pouches, and other scraps, are not easily recycled or converted. Individual waste pickers and local businesses are not incentivized to collect these soft plastics, further compounding the problem.

Renew Oceans is working to change that.

 
 

Land Based Collection

Our Plastic Muncher acts like a reverse vending machine, engineered to receive soft plastic waste, and then to compensate the customer with rewards based on their plastic waste deposits. 

Our team installs these kiosk-style exchange stations in public areas within river and tributary communities placed within 50 kilometers of one of our satellite conversion facilities.

 

Plastic Muncher

 

Water Based Collection

We place innovative ReFences in rivers to collect plastic waste as currents flow, thus diverting the waste from ocean bound pathways. This biofencing is anchored to the shore and pushes plastic waste into shallow waters where local waste pickers use nets provided by our team to gather the diverted plastic. 

They can then bring their collected plastic to one of our easily accessed Plastic Munchers or collection centers to receive payment. 

This one-to-one community engagement and reward system will drive our early success. As our projects progress, we will add additional layers of automation.

 

Makeshift fences are currently used where possible

Renew Oceans will install innovative biofences which are safe and much more effective

Renew Oceans will install innovative biofences which are safe and much more effective

 
 

 

Conversion

Our clean processes include both recycling and conversion to monetizable, renewable fuel.

Our team will facilitate the sale of all plastic bottles collected from our land- and water-based systems for conventional recycling. We will also separate non-bottle plastics to be processed at our satellite conversion facilities, where we are initially deploying the RenewOne, a conversion process that accepts soft plastics to create renewable fuel.

RenewOne’s process reverses the molecular structure of flexible plastics to create diesel fuel. The conversion does not create toxic emissions, and the resulting diesel product has a high market value and can be used locally in multiple ways.

This conversion process creates the end market value for soft plastic waste that affords our waste pickers higher financial returns.

 
RenewOne

RenewOne

 
 

 

Community

We partner with local leaders and empower waste pickers.

Community engagement and empowerment is essential to our success. Changing habits and behaviors learned over years and educating communities about proper disposal of plastics will take time. Our strategy will be tailored to each region and community.

For Renew Ganga, we start by collaborating with local temple leaders, giving them ways to encourage their communities to adopt behaviors that honor their religion while also protecting the environment. For example, a temple leader may ask his community not to place an offering in a plastic bag—before placing it in the river.

We also focus on empowering women waste pickers, showing them how working with us can improve not just their livelihoods (they will receive fair pay through our collection systems) but also their ability to help protect and preserve their community’s natural resources. Our local campaigns will support and share their powerful stories, helping to elevate their status and serving as a powerful source of inspiration.

In turn, we further motivate these waste pickers and others to participate, increasing land and water plastic collection and conversion, and getting us closer to our goal every day.

 

Our Campaign to Celebrate the Waste Picker

In Varanasi and in cities in the developing and western worlds, waste pickers have been collecting, sorting, washing, and selling plastic materials for a generation. They work long, grueling days in heat and inclement conditions, carting loads of material along walking routes. They pick up plastic material and other pollution from the river banks and streets, and sort through it, selling what they can for recycling to make a living.

Predominantly women, waste pickers in many societies can be an invisible working class, socially excluded or discriminated against, and unrecognized by municipalities. They typically receive no social benefits in return for their services, despite their considerable and measurable collective impact on pollution problems.

In some regions, local governments are seeking to recognize these workers—who have historically lived in makeshift tents despite their contributions. In areas where local governments are rewarding the waste picker’s contributions to the economy, they are receiving basic benefits like health care and education credits that can drastically improve their lives.

At Renew Oceans, our efforts depend upon our partnership with and elevation of local waste pickers.

Our campaigns will seek to promote these productive and hard-working citizens as heroes who are helping to rid holy rivers and oceans of dangerous plastics, and by extension in India, revering mother Ganga.