Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award

The Ocean Cleanup

The Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award supports five organisations that are addressing areas of significant social need through bold projects that promise lasting community benefit.

$US13 billion

Cost to the global economy from ocean plastic pollution

1.8 trillion

Pieces of plastic currently floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

90%

of plastic in the ocean expected to be removed by 2040 as part of this initiative

Research by The Ocean Cleanup shows that approximately 80 million kilograms of floating plastic debris and 1.8 trillion pieces of microplastic is distributed across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). This is an area that’s three times the size of France, located between California and Hawaii, and the largest accumulation of ocean garbage in the world.

The Ocean Cleanup is developing innovative tools for humanity to solve this problem. Its technology uses the ocean’s natural forces to concentrate the plastics in the GPGP before they’re removed and towed back to land for recycling.

By deploying a fleet of systems, The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 50 per cent of the GPGP every five years. Its longer-term goal is to rid all oceans of 90 per cent of floating plastic by 2040.

"Plastic continues to destroy ecosystems and economies, and has potentially damaging effects on human health on a big scale. More than three billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein and tipping plastic into the ocean ends up in the food chain, with associated health consequences. We started The Ocean Cleanup to develop the tools for humanity to be able to solve this problem."

- Boyan Slat, CEO and Founder, The Ocean Cleanup

"The Ocean Cleanup is a bold idea to confront the significant challenge of restoring our ocean ecosystem. This is a unique opportunity to profoundly impact our environment, pursuing an ambitious solution to remove plastic waste from our oceans with significant benefits for wildlife, the food chain and community health."

- Mary Reemst, Chair, Macquarie Group Foundation

Funding outcomes

The Award funding will support the completion of the critical development phase of the technology. Once the design is proven, The Ocean Cleanup can begin its scale-up to a full fleet of systems to be deployed across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.