How Pacific Garbage
The gray in the depths
During a dive in Cape Verde, something brushes Marcella’s leg. She is startled, but quickly realizes that it is only a plastic bag. At that moment, however, she realizes that there is much more plastic than fish swimming around her. She cannot let go of this realization.
During her own research, she becomes aware of how big the problem really is. When looking for the right solution, Marcella finally decided in 2013 to dedicate her master’s thesis to her heart-breaking topic: sea rescue. She learns about fluid mechanics, plastics production, consumer behavior, recycling processes and other topics that go far beyond an architect’s repertoire.
In a mountain of information, it quickly becomes clear to her that she is not the first to deal with the subject of meaningful cleaning of water. Sewage treatment plants use the sedimentation principle to allow heavy parts to sink and thus separate them from the water. Plastic parts, whether macro or microplastic, that swim in the oceans have a lower density than water and are therefore lighter. So why not reverse the principle?
In the course of her master’s thesis, the creative architect is developing a platform whose functional construction calms the currents so that plastic particles with their own density reach the surface and can be skimmed off. Fish and other marine life would not be harmed and the plastic obtained would even be converted into bioplastics and clean energy. A vision is born.
When looking for financing or the possibility of founding a start-up, Marcella initially encounters doubters. Environmental protection is not economical. A single woman will not be able to do something like this. But it turns out differently. She quickly inspires people who join her to make the world a better place.
A wave is kicked off. An association emerges from a master’s thesis. Here’s our history, from Pacific Garbage Screening to everwave, from sea platform to CollectiX, Hivex, EmergenSEA Kit and much more!
– Founding of Pacific Garbage Screening e.V. –
The time has come in October 2016. The association Pacific Garbage Screening e.V. is founded and will pave the way for developments and advances that none of our 12 founding members could have anticipated at this point in time.
The name refers to one of the largest garbage vortices on our planet, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The focus is on implementing the ideas from Marcella’s thesis.
– Start of club work in public relations –
Marcella becomes aware of the film “ Plastic Ocean ” via a trailer stated that it is only available in the United States. She made contact with the filmmakers and a short time later the documentary was also shown in German cinemas. When it became known that Ocean Film Tour also had the short film in their program, “PGS” received one Invitation to tour.
Thanks to an information stand on the topic and the chance to talk about our projects on stage after the film, we already have a large reach in our first year. Some members are students at the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering in Aachen and are writing their master’s theses on the flow behavior of the platform in order to prove the principle.
The first lectures and prizes will follow. Marcella also gets to know Clemens, who interviews her on stage on the Ocean Film Tour, and Tilman, who sees a lecture at RWTH Aachen University.
June / July 2018
– Successful crowdfunding: 230,000 € –
More and more motivated sea rescuers are joining the association, their heads full of ideas and hearts full of the urge to change the world. In addition to all of these active members, many sustaining members are quickly added. Gradually everyone becomes aware: The project is growing and needs more time and capacities. In July 2018 the team started a crowdfunding campaign and thus created the basis for the existence of Pacific Garbage Screening, because: the realization of this dream must of course also be financed.
End of 2018
– change of focus from sea to river –
Our original concept envisaged our platform still on the open sea. After long deliberations and productive discussions with experts from science and business, we decided to adapt the previous platform system for use in rivers.
If you want to know why we chose this way and what advantages this strategic change brings with it, you can read everything about it HERE.
– Foundation of the GmbH –
Due to our growth, the increased focus on research, and the upcoming assignments, it is important to create security by, among other things, minimizing risks. The GmbH is founded in order to put the project on an even better basis, to do justice to all stakeholders, and to be optimally prepared for future projects. The easier and more extensive access to research funds as well as the cooperation in long-term partnerships and the exclusion of liability risks for the association facilitate the decision to establish a company.
Due to our increased focus on research and the upcoming assignments, it is important for us to remove certain liability issues from the association and thus create security. The GmbH is founded in order to put the project on an even better basis. To be able to apply for research funds, enter into partnerships, and keep some risks out of the association.
The main shareholder of the GmbH is a GmbH so that the non-profit status is still in the foreground.
December 2018 - March 2019
PGS – from volunteering to full-time
The first crowdfunding enables us to set up the first positions. First, workplaces in the digitalCHURCH co-working space in Aachen were rented and, at the same time, our own office in the cloth factory was expanded, which we will finally move into in May 2019.
Marcella’s position is still funded today by the Straniak Foundation. The first employees are Tilman and Marcella, followed by Tessa, Jan, Jacky and our external CFO Helge, with whom we can rely on all economic and legal questions.
Goal 14 for sustainable development of the UN
Marcella is supported by the Bill & amp; Melinda Gates Foundation awarded as “Goalkeeper”. At a conference in New York with speakers like Bill and Melinda Gates, Jacinda Ardern etc., including workshops and an exciting program of three days, the focus is on the < strong> United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). Our ‘Top Goal’ is of course No. 14 – life under water.
As part of a global campaign initiated by “togetherband”, wristbands made from recycled waste and in the colors of all SDGs are sold and passed on to ambassadors. As a goal 14 ambassador, Marcella gives her second bracelet to Christian Baudis of Orange Ocean. Other well-known participants include Ed Sheeran, Kelly Slater, um.
– Tests and further development of the river platform –
We can test the functionality of our platform in two primotype test series in the laboratory, which are preliminary stages of the first prototype. These findings help us to realize the first prototype in nature. These tests can also be successfully completed, so that we can start planning a long-term test.
Thanks to the special support of the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management at RWTH Aachen University and the shipyard Abeking & amp; Rasmussen, we are able to adapt our platform to rivers, to test it and to implement it successfully.
Publication of our environmental case
In addition to our technical solutions, we also want to create long-term impact by actively promoting general awareness of marine and environmental protection. In our opinion, it makes the most sense to start with younger generations. Our idea: an environmental case for educational institutions .
The time has come in early summer 2020 and our “ EmergenSEA Kit ” will be released in two different versions. One kit is designed for primary school, one kit for secondary school 1. The way for sponsors to donate the suitcases to schools is paved. You can find all further information about the environmental case in our area of environmental education or directly HERE </ a >.
Our first use of the CollectiX boat
We are using a crowdfunding campaign to present our CollectiX boats and our plan to clean the “Hron” river in Slovakia, which is overflowing with plastic waste. The project reached its goal of 20,000 euros within a few weeks thanks to incredible supporters.
Shortly thereafter, Pacific Garbage Screening was not only able to successfully complete its very first boat mission. At least as high importance is ascribed to the knowledge gathered, as well as the buzz that the “Cleanup Mission” triggers in the media. More on this HERE .
Renaming, re-launch and Re-design
With the update of our holistic approach (see the end of 2018) we quickly realized that the content of the name “Pacific Garbage Screening” would no longer suit us. That being said, we admit he’s a little tongue twister. A new name is needed.
The year 2020 will therefore be used intensively to carry out a meaningful renaming. After instructive processes, we finally decided on “ everwave “. As part of the renaming, we also use the opportunity to relaunch and redesign the website. Read in guest article by g31 as well as our blog article all backgrounds.
– Award for HiveX and CollectiX –
Both our river platform, which we have christened HiveX, and our rubbish collection boat CollectiX are awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solutions Label awarded. This means that two of our solutions are among the 1000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way. Of course, this makes us particularly proud and confirms that we are on our way.