Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Plastics Technology

Ocean Cleanup System

Remediation Strategy
Plastic Type
Invention Category
Included in analysis?
Location Invented

Effectiveness or Ecological Impact

Non-peer-reviewed Effectiveness

The Ocean Cleanup projects to be able to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040 (Koop, 2021).

Ecological Impact

Zooplankton that encounter the skirts of the system are likely killed (Falk-Andersson et al., 2020; Paris et al., 2022).


BeauHD. (2018). Giant Trap Deployed To Catch Plastic Littering the Pacific Ocean Isn’t Working—Slashdot. Slashdot.; Carr, A. (2017). Massive Cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to Start Next Year. The Weather Channel.; Cross, L. (2019, June 26). Trash collecting device returned to Pacific garbage patch. Inhabitat.; Edwards, T. (2016, August 22). Inventing to Clean Up the Ocean [Text]. Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.; Gertz, E. (2014, July 16). Does “The Ocean Cleanup” Stand Up To Peer Review? Popular Science.; Hill, T. (2016). Can these inventions save oceans from our plastic habit? Take Part.> Howard, B., Gibbens, S., Zachos, E., & Parker, L. (2019). A Running List of Action on Plastic Pollution. University of San Diego.; Knapton, S. (2017, February 11). Our seas have become a plastic graveyard—But can technology turn the tide? The Telegraph.; Lim, X. (2018, September 8). This Ocean Cleanup System Aims To Collect 50 Tons Of Plastic. But Then What? HuffPost.; T.K. Miller The Millenium Falcon in my stomach; or, a plastic token of disease and indifference Berfrois. (2018); Onorevole, K. (2016). The Value of Invention: 3 Years of the Ocean Cleanup (and UNdertheC!). Under the C.; Papadopoulos, L. (2019, February 22). 7 Inventions That Are Literally Saving Our Oceans. Interesting Engineering.; Ryall, J. (2015, December 31). Revolutionary system promises to recover plastic rubbish from world’s oceans. The Telegraph.; Shah, S. (2017, June 5). The Ocean CleanUp: Boyan Slat’s Initiative to Sustaining Life Below Water. AIESEC | Blog.; Spary, S. (2018). A Giant Ocean “Pac Man” Has Just Been Dropped Into The Pacific To Gobble Up Plastic. Huffpost.; The Ocean Cleanup. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2022, from; SOURCE. (2018, September 11). Will the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Meet Its Match? Floating Trash Collector Just Left San Francisco on a Mission. OB Rag.; Wamsley, L. (n.d.). A Massive Floating Boom Is Supposed To Clean Up The Pacific. Can It Work? NPR. Retrieved September 7, 2023, from; Wright, P. (2018). Young Inventor to Put Ocean-Saving Device to the Test by Scooping up Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Weather Channel.
Non-peer-reviewed Effectiveness

Koop, F. (2021, October 19). This device just cleaned up 9,000 kilograms of trash out of the ocean. ZME Science.; Leatherman, 2015

Ecological Impact

Falk-Andersson J, Larsen Haarr M, Havas V. Basic principles for development and implementation of plastic clean-up technologies: What can we learn from fisheries management? Science of The Total Environment. 2020 Nov 25;745:141117.; Paris, A., Kwaoga, A., & Hewavitharane, C. (2022). An assessment of floating marine debris within the breakwaters of the University of the South Pacific, Marine Studies Campus at Laucala Bay. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 174, 113290.


* Year designates the year invented; if the year invented was unavailable, the earliest year that an article about the technology was published was used.