The Plastic Odyssey project seeks to reduce marine plastic waste while establishing a global network of regional recycling programs. Several performers are supporting the project because they all want to create a world where plastic garbage does not end up in the ocean.
Its mission is to find solutions to reduce plastic pollution in the 30 countries most affected by this phenomenon: aboard its ambassador ship, the Plastic Odyssey expedition will cast off from Marseille on 1 October for a three-year expedition.
It was while sailing the seas that Simon Bernard, a merchant navy officer and the company's president and co-founder, realised the extent of the damage caused by plastic, "20 tonnes of which are dumped into the ocean every minute", the equivalent of a garbage truck.
In 2016, the Plastic Odyssey project was born with the ambition to "stop this leakage", in his words.
"It is not a ship to clean up the ocean, but a demonstrator of solutions," explained the young Breton during the presentation of the expedition in Marseille on Friday.
Noting that 80% of the plastic waste polluting the oceans comes from coastal areas, the 20 crew members will target "the 30 cities in the world that are most burdened by this waste, notably because they lack treatment infrastructures", describes Simon Bernard.
In South-East Asia, Africa and South America, Plastic Odyssey hopes to train 300 entrepreneurs to recycle waste into solid and useful objects, such as paving stones and pipes, using simple and robust machines, the plans for which are available as open-source software.
In addition to recycling, Plastic Odyssey will be running awareness campaigns on the need to reduce the amount of plastic in our daily lives at each of its stops, as it will be doing in Marseille over the weekend.
"We don't want to give the general public the message of saving technology," explains Maïté Abos, director of the association, "because we can't do without thinking about 'how to do without plastic'. A "fantastic material, very solid and durable but used for single use, very polluting", she deplores.
On board the Plastic Odyssey, visitors from all over the world will be able to observe the machine tools and also visit a "zero waste and zero plastic" living space.
The 40-metre-long Plastic Odyssey is powered by plastic waste, thanks to a pyrolysis system, and is therefore autonomous in energy.
In addition to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Plastic Odyssey is supported by a number of private sponsors, including the French cosmetics group L'Occitane.
The effects of plastic pollution on the environment, the flora, and human health are permanent. How can these Sustainable Development Goals be achieved? - By enabling the global society to participate at a local level and by integrating the problems caused by plastic pollution into daily life.
More information: https://plasticodyssey.org/en/