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ScottishPower Renewables takes on sea plastics at Lowestoft

23/05/2022

Two floating bins which skim water for plastics and rubbish are being used to cut waste pollution in the sea and harbour at Lowestoft thanks to ScottishPower Renewables’ East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm. 

The two Seabins are among just 860 being used around the world and were provided by ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) for Associated British Ports (ABP) to support the drive to clean up oceans and seas.

Picking up rubbish like plastic bottles and bags, cigarette ends and crisp packets from the water’s surface, one Seabin can catch up to one tonne of debris a year, including microplastics as small as 2mm.

Costing £4,000 each, SPR installed one Seabin at its East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm pontoon, while the other was donated to ABP to help cut waste in the harbour.

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The idea to bring the Seabins to East Anglia came from the windfarm’s Principle Operations and Maintenance Health and Safety Specialist, Dan McKinley: “I actually heard about Seabins and the positive impact they can have on BBC’s The One Show.As soon as I saw the piece, I knew it could be a real opportunity for us to do something positive for our environment and help give back to our local community. It’s great to see the Seabins fully functioning and doing such an important job, and I hope they will serve as a precedent for ScottishPower’s  other offshore developments going forward.” 

Fully submersible, the Seabins are a similar size to a standard household wheelie bin and remove plastic bottles, litter, debris, microplastics and rubbish from the port water. Fixed in position, they collect any floating rubbish as water flows through the bin, moving with the motion of the tide.

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Each bin has the capability to catch 90,000 plastic bags, 35,700 disposable cups, 166,500 plastic utensils and 16,500 plastic bottles per year. Cigarette ends are the most common caught item. Debris is stored in a catch bag, which is changed daily and disposed of properly, while the clean water then flows back into the marina. 

Tom Duit, Operations Manager at ABP’s Port of Lowestoft said: “ABP is really pleased to support this initiative. We have the calm waters needed for the Seabin unit to work effectively and the device has no negative impact on our port operations. It has, however, had a really positive impact on the environment, collecting floating debris and microplastics which would otherwise end up in our oceans. ABP has committed to making sure we minimise the impact of port operations on the environment and ensuring a sustainable future. This is another step towards this ambition.”

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