ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — The Ocean Cleanup's plastic-catching system is now collecting and retaining plastic debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the first time, the Netherlands-based nonprofit said on Wednesday.
The Ocean Cleanup redesigned its cleanup system earlier this year and added a parachute in order for the system to collect plastic at a more consistent speed.
The company explained on their website that their previous system failed to retain plastic as the system would travel either faster or slower than the plastic.
This meant that the plastic would float into the system only for it to float out of it.
System 001/B uses a parachute to allow natural winds and waves to move plastic into the system to prevent the plastic from floating out of the cleanup system.
The system's plastic-collecting screen has been moved forward to prevent fracturing to its floating barrier.
Ocean Cleanup explained on their website that the organization added bigger floats to the system's corkline in order to increase buoyancy.
These are stacked on top of one another to prevent plastic waste from floating to the middle of the plastic-collecting screen and the floating barrier.
In a news release on Wednesday, the organization explained that the system has successfully collect large pieces of plastic waste and ghost nets that are typically used for fishing.
The system was also able to collect microplastics as tiny as one millimeter from the Pacific Ocean.
The plastic will eventually be returned to land for recycling.
Ocean Cleanup said they will start designing its next cleanup system, System 002, which will be able to collect and retain plastics for longer periods of time.