In an ambitious mission to cut plastic pollution in the top 30 most affected countries, the Plastic Odyssey is ready to set sail from Marseille on 1 October.
It will be a three-year expedition to South-East Asia, Africa and South America; training hundreds of people to recycle waste into useful objects
Simon Bernard is a co-founder of Plastic Odyssey.
“We’ll be making 30 stops in Africa, South America and South-East Asia,” he says. “And the aim is to train 300 recycling entrepreneurs who will be able to set up micro-factories and process waste before it ends up in the ocean.”
The 20 crew members, as well as encouraging recycling, will also run awareness campaigns on the need to reduce the amount of plastic in our daily lives at each of its stops
“90 percent of ocean pollution comes from about thirty countries that don’t have the means – that don’t have the infrastructure – for waste management,” Simon explains.
“The current situation is there, it’s like that, we have a heritage of five billion tonnes of plastic in unauthorised dumps, how can we turn it into a resource to turn a problem into a local solution?”
The ship provides a “zero waste and zero plastic” living space where sustainability is key. Foods are carefully stored and visitors from all over the world will be able to observe the innovative machine tools.
Another co-founder, Alexandre Dechelotte, describes what happens below deck.
“We are in the heart of the boat, in the recycling workshop. This workshop will be used for training at each of the ports of call, and so we have several machines which are used for training and demonstration, and the aim is to replicate them in the field.”
The 40 metre-long Plastic Odyssey is even powered by plastic waste, thanks to a system known as pyrolysis.
It is supported by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and by various private sponsors.