A three week long recycling tour - by Sailboat
IN MOCEAN was founded by sailors Nike and Maria. When we launched the Baltic Sea Tour to bring recycling and plastic awareness to the German public, we knew it should be on board a sailboat. We reached out to the local Baltic sailing community and were excited when Stefan Hahn contacted us to volunteer his 14-meter steel Van de Stadt yacht, S/V Rooster.
Stefan is a native Hanoverian who is easy going and has an endless treasure trove of sailor’s yarns to share, making him a fine companion for the trip. Not only did he supply his yacht, Rooster, for the trip but also his services as skipper. Stefan is a true single-handed sailor, as he lost the function of his right arm in a motorcycle accident in 1988. Despite this disadvantage, he skillfully cast off the dock, hoisted the sails, and maneuvered Rooster without a fault. Unfortunately, the weather was not as favourable as hoped, but Stefan and Nike were able to complete nearly 2/3 of the 240nm trip under sail.
A three week long recycling tour - by Sailboat
In each of the three ports, Flensburg, Kiel, and Lübeck, over three consecutive weekends, IN MOCEAN hosted interactive recycling events similar to those we held when we participated in MeerErlebnisTage, Ocean Discovery Days, in Niendorf. At each port, the IN MOCEAN team set up a series of interactive stations where participants could learn about recycling plastics and the potential that transforming ocean plastic pollution has, both to the environment and to the communities that take part.
At the first station people were taught how to identify and sort plastics. During the Baltic Sea Tour we introduced a new method of plastic sorting in addition to our “swim test” that we used in Niendorf. We worked with the PlastTell, which is device that can identify different plastic types using infrared beams. Sorting and identifying the different plastics are important, as various plastic have different melting points and only some plastics can be melted safely. Using the PlastTell device makes sorting and identifying easy. IN MOCEAN is looking forward to using PlastTell when helping coastal communities in underdeveloped areas set up their recycling workspaces.
At the second station people could experience the mobile plastic shredding machine from Precious Plastic Melbourne and shred plastic bottle caps. This small machine is carried by the IN MOCEAN Recycling Fleet and is used for workshops and events to demonstrate the recycling process. When we help set up recycling workspaces in remote coast areas a slightly larger machine is used that requires a bigger power supply, but also has a higher output.
This time, the third station, where the shredded plastics were transformed into new, useful items, was a little different. During the Ocean Discovery Days we used an extrusion machine but quickly realized that trying to work with a filament of hot plastic is a process that requires some finesse and time to get used to. So, this time we brought along an injection machine from PlasticPreneur that is used to fill 3-D molds.
We had bought various coloured polypropylene shreds from Marijaan, a precious plastic community member from Berlin. The participants could each choose their own colour mix for their product. The shreds went into the cylinder of the injection machine where they were heated to 260°C, a process that takes about 10 minutes. Next, we place a 3-D mold under the nozzle and the hot liquid plastic was forced into the mold. We made carabiners, spinning tops and ocean themed pendants in the shape of anchors, shells, turtles, and a ship`s wheel.
Turning plastic bottle caps into stylish jewellery
An exciting, and popular, new addition to the IN MOCEAN recycling events was a DIY Jewellery Making Workshop. Here we were able to show people that plastic recycling, and upcycling, doesn’t have to involve expensive machinery or lots of waste plastics. In fact, with just a few every day, household items you can transform bottle caps into beautiful, wearable art!
Plastic bottle caps were melted down and turned into usable plastic sheets using a panini press and a couple Teflon sheets to prevent sticking. After the plastic was melted and cooled the sheets of coloured plastic could then be cut using a pair of scissors into any shape or design. A small drill was used to make a hole where the ring for a pendant or hooks for earrings could be attached. People young and old had fun at this creative workshop and we were impressed at the beautiful jewellery that they made.
One of our volunteers, Charlotte, became an expert at jewellery making and came to both Kiel and Lübeck to run the jewellery workshop for us. Her designs were so good that she sold some earrings that she had made when showcasing the process for the workshops! Thanks so much to Charlotte for all her help.
Becoming Recycling Fleet Members for a Day
We not only travelled to each city by sailboat, IN MOCEAN also invited the public to experience life onboard by becoming a Recycling Fleet Member for a Day. Stefan again generously volunteered his boat and his skills, welcoming the people on board for a sail around each harbour, while Nike explained and demonstrated the mobile recycling machines, made by Precious Plastic Melbourne, that our fleet of Recycling Ambassadors carry around the world.
Using the small, 150W, mobile shredder participants shredded HDPE, High Density Polyethylene, bottle caps into small pieces. We then added some pre-purchased shreds from Re-Solution, a precious plastic community member from Darmstadt. The plastic granules were then fed into mobile, 350W, extruder. Crew members cranked a manual handle to force out the plastic filament, which was layered onto forms to create baskets.
Everyone had fun trying their hand at making a recycled plastic basket, but it wasn’t long before they realized that Nike has had a lot of practice and makes the tricky process of manipulating the hot filament look easy. Everyone got to take their creations home and put to them to good use. Lena, a participant from the Lübeck trip, is using hers to store garlic.
We were excited that people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience hopped onboard in all three ports, despite the weather not always being ideal. Although we had fine weather all day in Flensburg and during our morning sail in Lübeck, we got drenched in Kiel! Due to the rain, the recycling demo had to take place on the dock and below deck before we headed out. But nothing could dampen the spirits of the girls who came onboard, they even sat outside while underway with all the other boats on the Kieler Förde, chatting and laughing in the rain.
Thanks to everyone who came out to experience life as an IN MOCEAN Recycling Fleet Member. It was great to show people firsthand the machines that we use to introduce remote communities overseas to the potential of plastic recycling, and to further explain the impact that the IN MOCEAN team is making.
Giving more insight into the work we do overseas
The final event of the tour was a lecture and slide show hosted by Nike to further explain how IN MOCEAN was founded by Maria Lapointe and herself, the work that has already been done in remote communities in Costa Rica and Panamá, what they have learnt so far as well as the future of the project and how everyone can get IN MOCEAN against ocean pollution.
Thanks to everyone who attended, we hope it was educational and inspiring.
We are deeply grateful for the amazing support!
Our Baltic Sea Tour would not have been possible without the help of so many people and organizations.
Firstly, we would like to thank the venues that hosted us for free in the port cities of Flensburg, Kiel, and Lübeck. The Flensburger Schifffahrtsmuseum, Uni-Segelzentrum Kiel-Schilksee, and the Newport Marina & Media Docks. To end the tour the Newport Marina restaurant even hosted an “after party” for us, with dinner and drinks, donating half of the earnings to IN MOCEAN.
The generous donations of space and time of these four gave IN MOCEAN a platform to set up our interactive recycling activities, host lectures, dock the boat and reach the public. Thanks again for all your support!
Also, thanks to everyone who visited and took part in our events and donated to IN MOCEAN. We launched the Baltic Sea Tour to connect with people, to talk about the potential of plastic recycling and to showcase the work that we are doing. We were met with smiles and encouragement and so much support. Thanks again to everyone who turned up and got involved.
IN MOCEAN inspires people to get involved
We were overwhelmed by the offers of volunteers to help with the IN MOCEAN program, both on the Tour and in the future. The enthusiasm and dedication of people who are as concerned about plastic pollution as we are and seeing recycling as a possible solution is very encouraging. It’s people like you that fuel our passion to keep fighting against ocean pollution! We already mentioned Stefan and Charlotte, but we also wanted to send a big thanks to:
- Ed, who we met at the Ocean Discovery Days, MeerErlebnisTage, and who turned up at all three locations to help.
- Sheila who volunteered at MeerErlebnisTage and came to help in Lübeck.
- Anke, Paula and Alex who helped in Flensburg, and volunteered to join us again if we repeat the event next year.
- Merle and Philippa were the youngest helpers, they came by train to Lübeck.
- Andreas came out to help in Kiel, even though he was flying to India the next day.
- Dirk let go of a lucrative photo job offer to help in Lübeck instead.
- Johanna, who does voluntary press work for us, came to help in Lübeck and we finally got to meet in person.
A BIG round of applause and heart-felt thanks from the IN MOCEAN team!!
Everyone at IN MOCEAN is excited with the response and reaction we got to our Baltic Sea Tour. It was a lot of work, but interreacting with people, hearing their stories and learning that so many people are as passionate about helping to save our oceans as we are, was more than worth the effort. It showed us that IN MOCEAN is on the right path, that there is acceptance for the work we are doing, and that we ARE having a positive impact.
We believe that the fight against ocean pollution is very important, and that the path forward must include seeing the potential value that plastic can have. Let’s #catchthewavetoacleanertomorrow