Baltic Sea Tour: Plastic Has a Triple Effect

IN MOCEAN supports people in underdeveloped coastal areas to set up small scale plastic recycling workshops. Co-Founder Berenike Steiger is currently in Germany to bring attention to the work of IN MOCEAN.

Through the various activities during the tour, people in this country should be made aware of the triple potential of plastic recycling for structurally weak areas. During the planned Baltic Sea tour in September 2022, the IN MOCEAN team will show how the recycling workshops that have been set up in Central America are having an economic, ecological and social impact.

There is a lack of waste recycling infrastructure in many places in the world.

In Germany, waste is diligently separated into various bins and yellow bags. On collection day those are placed in front of the house and someone takes it away for proper disposal. Our recycling rate is 70%, for household waste in general, but less than 50% for plastic waste.

What happens in areas where there is no infrastructure for waste recycling?

In many countries around the world plastic waste  is either dumped directly in nature or in unregulated landfills. This is simply due to lack of infrastructure. As the plastic breaks down it gradually releases toxic substances into the soil and drinking water. In heavy rain or wind, both the plastics and the toxins are spread further into the surrounding environment. Alternatively, plastic waste is incinerated improperly, releasing toxic fumes, often in close proximity to people and animals. 

Our Daily Dose of Plastic Waste

IN MOCEAN founders Maria LaPointe and Berenike Steiger have encountered this situation almost daily for many years while living on sailboats, exploring the waters and remote coastal areas of Central America.

“Not a single beach we visited was plastic-free,” reports Maria.

Berenike adds: “Not only do the local people lack the infrastructure to deal with their own waste, but a considerable amount of plastic is also washed up on the beaches every day”.

For these two sailors, looking away is not an option.What is needed is a solution that removes the plastic from nature, while preventing it from getting there in the first place. Instead, Nike and Maria have declared war on plastic waste!

One Solution: Plastic Waste Gets a Value

When plastic waste is converted into new, salable products, it gets a monetary value. This creates an incentive for plastic waste to be collected, both from the surrounding nature and in private households. The collected plastic waste is sorted and washed in local recycling workshops before being shredded in a plastic shredder. Then, using an extruder, the plastic is finally heated and new products are formed.

IN MOCEAN helps the community set up these small-scale plastic recycling plants. Working with a local partner organization, IN MOCEAN first develops an individualized workspace concept for each community, then necessary infrastructure is then set up. If required, IN MOCEAN provides the recycling machines, which are financed by donations. In training courses, local people learn how to recycle the plastic they collect. IN MOCEAN also supports them in setting up marketing and sales channels.

By running workshops, providing training and guidance, IN MOCEAN empowers local people to make positive change.

Plastic Recycling Works in Three Ways

Economically The sale of the recycled products creates new sources of income in structurally weak coastal areas. 

Ecologically The recycling workspaces give local people the opportunity to recycle their own plastic waste and process plastic waste washed up on the coast.

Socially In aditional recycling workshops, the community is made aware of the issues of environmental protection, plastic avoidance and waste recycling.

A gain for mankind and the nature world.

"Recycling workspaces provide an incentive to remove plastic waste from nature and create an infrastructure that prevents waste from being disposed of improperly."

Maria LaPointe, Co-Founder of IN MOCEAN

Recycling Workspaces Show Initial Successes

IN MOCEAN has already set up two recycling workspaces. In cooperation with Tortugas de Osa the first recycling workspace was created on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. The second workspce, located in the Pearl Island in Panamá, was created together with Eco-Centro Saboga Bonita, for the local Sailing Club Panama sailing school.

"Without IN MOCEAN we would not be where we are today. In three months we have created four paid jobs on the island of Saboga and removed several hundred kilos of plastic from the beach, which are now gradually being recycled. IN MOCEAN has given us the necessary tools and information, now we can continue to drive the workspace forward independently."

Marta, manager of the Saboga Bonita recycling workspace in Panamá

“The recycling workspace gives us the opportunity to make something valuable out of our plastic waste. It is fascinating to see how new products are made from waste. I hope that many other people will have this opportunity so that plastic no longer ends up in nature or has to be burned.”

Ruth, participant in a training course in the recycling workshop in Rio Oro (Costa Rica)

Our Baltic Sea Tour: Three Recycling Events for Triple Effect

IN MOCEAN sails with the SY Rooster in September 2022, from Flensburg via Kiel to Lübeck. At each stop we will be hosting three activities: 

  • A series of exciting lectures on the history and work of IN MOCEAN
  • Interactive and informative recycling events 
  • Recycling under sail onboard “SY Rooster”

"IN MOCEAN is now traveling here in Germany on the Baltic Sea from one event to the next in September by sailing boat! We hope to raise the awareness of people here in Germany about the potential of plastic recycling and the work we are doing in remote coastal areas in Central America. The events will be informative and interactive: recycling to experience and participate.”

Berenike Steiger, co-founder and managing director of IN MOCEAN

Our supporters make the Baltic Sea Tour possible!

Nothing would be possible without the great support of our event partners, Skipper Stefan of SY Rooster, and our many volunteers during the Baltic Sea Tour. We are very grateful for the positive response to our project and the commitment of many great people and institutions who support us, provide guidance and advice, and who help to draw attention to our cause.





4 Responses

  1. Hallo Berenike
    Ich heisse Elmar und bin ursprünglich von Hamburg. Bin schon seit langer Zeit nicht mehr dort. Etwas auf weltreise. Ich bin seit einiger Zeit hier in Hawaii. Lebe auf meinem segelboot und mache mir das Leben schön. Ich wollte kurz Hallo sagen und dir danken für deine Unterstützung mit unseren Umwelt Problemen. Ich bin hier als bootsbauer oder wie man hier sagen würde shipwright. Verbringe meine zeit hier leuten ihre boote seetüchtig und weltsegeltüchtig auszustatten oder nur nötige Änderungen oder Modifizierungen auszuführen. Macht mir viel Spass und Freude.
    So eine Frage.
    Hast du Kontakte oder Ambassadors hier in Hawaii?
    Wir brauchen dringend mehr Hilfe mit dem Plastic Problem hier.
    Bitte antworte doch auf meinen Brief und wir gehen von dort ab weiter. .
    Alles gute von Hawaii.
    Elmar Franke

    1. Hi Elmar,
      bitte entschuldige die späte Antwort. Wir haben keine Kontakte zu der Botschaft in Hawaii, nein. Es gibt auf Hawaii bereits einige Mitglieder des Precious Plastic Networks, dem wir ja auch angehören. Zum Beispiel diese hier
      Dort findest du auf der Karte auch noch weitere Workspaces. Vielleicht kannst du dort lokal mal anfragen? Wir haben leider derzeit niemanden in der Nähe von Hawaii.
      Beste Grüße auf das schöne Hawaii, Nike

  2. Just watched Nike’s latest video (I watch them all), but this one was going onboard with ‘Delos’ and presenting the plastic recycling machine. I am also a sailor, but mostly coastal cruising. I was particularly interested in the comment ‘making things like zip-ties’. Can you do that? I live on an Island (Bermuda actually). We do NOT recycle plastic right now, only Aluminum cans, & glass, which I think is a shame. Bermuda is not a poor country, so making baskets and other trinkets I do not believe will work here. However, making something that everyone needs (like zip-ties), *could* have potential. I’m not interesting in making money, just a way t recycle the plastic. I’m very practical , as all boat owners must be… and very interested in how I could get involved.


    1. Hi Russell, thanks for your comment and your interest in making recycled Zip Ties. We have not tried, yet, but I don`t see why it should not be possible. Once we have done a trial run, I will shoot you a message, okay?
      Best wishes, Nike

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One important step in the fight against plastic pollution is to create awareness about the possible solutions. Especially in those areas where people are heavily affected by plastic trash. That`s why we started a crowdfunding in 2021 to outfit eight sailboats with mobile plastic recycling machines. Our Recycling Fleet has now started to demonstrate the potential of small-scale plastic recycling around the globe.

IN MOCEAN just completed our Baltic Sea Tour and we couldn’t be happier with how things went. Berenike Steiger, our co-founder, spent three weeks travelling Germany between Flensburg, Kiel, and Lübeck to raise awareness about the potential of plastic recycling and to talk about the work that IN MOCEAN is doing overseas in remote coastal villages. It was a ton of work to launch the workshops and activities in each port but seeing the public come out, take part, and learn was so rewarding!