SustainabilityJune 8, 2022

Reversing plastics pollution to protect the ocean and planet

3DEXPERIENCE Lab member Plastic Odyssey protects our ocean with low-tech, open-source recycling solutions to prevent plastics pollution.
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Patrick Ball
Patrick is a Senior Communications Manager on the Corporate Publishing team here at Dassault Systèmes. An experienced journalist, marketer, speechwriter and storyteller, Patrick's words have appeared on pages and stages around the world.

Sometimes numbers get so large and complicated that the big, scary statistics can their shock value. Who can conceptualize what 32% of 78 million tons of plastic means anyway? But when you reframe in a way that anyone can understand, the urgency becomes more apparent.

Every minute, a garbage’s worth of plastic is dumped into our ocean. That’s roughly 19 tons a minute, every minute of every day of the year. What’s worse is that it’s getting worse. Some projections expect the amount of plastic pollution to double by 2030, and double again by 2050. At that point, without significant action, a study commissioned by the World Economic Forum projects that, by weight, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

The math might be complicated, but the takeaway is anything but. We need to take decisive action to reverse plastic pollution and impact the future of our ocean … and our planet.

June 8 is World Ocean Day. It’s an occasion for people everywhere to unite with millions of others around the world to celebrate and take action to protect our shared ocean and the climate. The concept of World Ocean Day was first proposed by Canada at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Thirty years later, World Ocean Day 2022 is focused on safeguarding our ocean, its biodiversity, and building climate change resiliency.

Meet 3DEXPERIENCE Lab member Plastic Odyssey

One organization doing its part is Plastic Odyssey. This 3DEXPERIENCE Lab member promotes low-tech and open-source technologies to valorize plastic waste. Plastic Odyssey seeks to limit the damage with traditional solutions to recover plastic waste and reach a sustainable era.

According to Plastic Odyssey, the famous floating “garbage patch” is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact of plastic pollution on our ocean. Once at sea, 99% of plastic sinks and breaks down into micro-particles too small to be collected. The deep sea is littered with micro-particles that work their way into our marine food chain.

So Plastic Odyssey wants to keep plastic pollution out of the ocean in the first place. How are they this? Plastic Odyssey develops and promotes low-tech, open-source recycling technologies accessible to the masses. Their machines are based on existing technologies that have proven successful in sorting, recycling and pyrolysis. Plastic Odyssey improved on those designs to make machines that are more mobile, budget friendly and easy to produce and repair. They’re putting the blueprints online, for free.

To promote their efforts, Plastic Odyssey has launched a 40-meter scientific exploration vessel, “The Plastic Odyssey” on a three-year expedition across three continents to stimulate local initiatives in areas most affected by plastics pollution. Their goal: “Uncover solutions to fight against plastic pollution and experiment with innovative models on smaller scales to replicate these in other territories.”

As members of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, Plastic Odyssey has been able to use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and conception tools to develop their machines and reduce plastic pollution with the help of common knowledge and worldwide ingenuity from community members and mentors.

The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab is Dassault Systèmes’ open innovation laboratory designed to nurture and empower disruptive projects. Learn more about Plastic Odyssey and the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab.

Read more 3DEXPERIENCE Lab stories

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