- The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit that designs technology to clean up plastic from the ocean.
- Microsoft hosted two hackathons to build a machine learning model to help identify waste.
- Now the nonprofit is selling sunglasses made from ocean plastic and reinvesting proceeds into its work.
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These $200 sunglasses from The Ocean Cleanup come with an interesting backstory: they’re made of recycled plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a concentration of waste that takes up 617,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean.
Boyan Slat launched The Ocean Cleanup nonprofit in 2013, with the goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Since then, the project has also embraced the goal of preventing new waste from entering the ocean by cleaning up rivers that carry many of the pollutants.
In 2018, The Ocean Cleanup was a participant in Microsoft’s annual hackathon, where volunteers work together on moonshots to try to come up with innovative solutions. The resulting machine learning models have helped The Ocean Cleanup track plastic and other waste and informed how and where the nonprofit deploys its giant autonomous plastic collectors.
Take a look at the glasses here.