The TerraCycle Global Foundation has cleared 581 tonnes of waste from waterways – roughly equivalent to the weight of more than 350 cars – in its first two years.
The Foundation has operated in canals throughout Bangkok since June 2020. It partners with local community and government organisations to stop waste from reaching the ocean, where it degrades and becomes harder to capture and recycle.
Using innovative wildlife-safe traps, the Foundation collects all types of waste, including plastic, reducing the chance of the waste breaking down into microplastics and other hard-to-capture particles.
Some 80 percent of the plastic waste in the ocean is transported via rivers or coastlines, demonstrating the importance of collecting it as far upstream as possible.
“Not only has the Foundation made waterways cleaner and safer places for wildlife, but we have seen real benefits to the local communities as well,” said Tom Szaky, Founder of TerraCycle.
Since June 2020, the TerraCycle Global Foundation’s operations have provided employment for 11 people from the local Lat Phrao community in Bangkok, and have created healthier environments for over 7,000 households alongside the canal with a cleaner environment.
All sorts have been pulled from the waterways, including toys and motorcycle helmets. Between 19 – 25% of the waste collected is recycled locally, and nothing is sent to landfill.
There are three river traps currently in operation in Thai canals, and each trap collects about 150,000 – 175,000 pounds of waste directly from the water per year. The Foundation is looking to expand across a number of regions of the world suffering from heavily polluted waterways.