The Seabin R&D centre.

An Australian start-up has developed an automated floating rubbish collecting unit that is targeting marinas, wharfs and yacht clubs around the world as potential customers.

The Seabin is designed for cleaning up any aquatic setting, including inland waterways, residential lakes, ponds in parks or private pontoons, and can take in floating rubbish, oil, fuel and detergents.

Designed and prototyped in Perth by two Australian surfers, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, with seed investment from Shark Mitigation Systems in Western Australia, the product has been initially launched to market from a research and development base the pair established in Mallorca, Spain.

Mr Turton’s background includes boatbuilding and sailing, and Mr Ceglinski is an industrial designer who previously worked designing injection-moulded plastic products before crossing over into the yachting industry.

At the end of last month, the co-directors announced that the French government had decided to order the Seabin for a government-owned marina. And it may not be long before Australian developments, like Brookfield’s Bluewater Marina at Trinity Beach, Mirvac’s marina at Docklands or Perth’s Elizabeth Quay, follow suit.

As well as capturing physical debris, the Seabin can also clean the water of oils, detergents and other floating liquids.

The unit floats at the surface of the water, and is plumbed into a shore based water pump. The unit sucks water in from its surroundings, bringing all the floating junk and gunk with it. This is caught inside a natural fibre catch bag, with the water then flowing out through the bottom of the bin and into the landside pump.

The pump can have an oil/water separator installed to clean the water of fuels before it returns to its origin.

Research shows that the amount of waste in our oceans is escalating rapidly, and having a dramatic impact on both aquatic life and bird life. So the inventors have sought crowd-funding via Indiegogo to turn their prototype into a sustainably manufactured product that can be used around the world.

The initial business model comprises manufacture in each country the bins are to be installed, to reduce the freight footprint, and to use alternative materials and manufacturing processes. The bins will be made from up to 100 per cent recycled polyethylene plastic, and the captured plastics they hope to see used in waste-to-energy facilities.

In an interview with ABC Radio, Mr Ceglinski said the crowd funding campaign attracted $34,000 within its first three days prior to Christmas.

By close on 7 January it had attracted 7360 backers and raised US$267,767 (AU$381,652) – 115 per cent of the target. The supporters comprised both individuals and bodies including the American Sailing Association, Newport Shipyard, Complete Marine Freight and the Clean Ocean Project.

The aim now is to move into full manufacture and be filling the first orders by mid-to-late 2016.

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