The initiative’s results from the detection, recording and collection of waste from the Greek seas.
Nestlé Hellas and POLYECO, join forces to reduce the impact of plastic pollution by implementing the pilot, pioneering project “WE SEA MORE”, which aims at detecting, recording and collecting waste in the marine ecosystem.
The “WE SEA MORE” project took place during the first 3 months of 2020 in the marine environment of Palaio Faliro, a location of rich economic, geomorphological and anthropocentric interest. The area of interest was the marine and coastal environment with a total range of one (1) square kilometer, located at “Akti Edem” in the Municipality of Palaio Faliro, where the stream of Pikrodafni flows. The purpose of the project was to make use of Unmanned Surface Vehicle – (USVs) and remote sensing, for the immediate and valid detection of pollutants – especially plastics – on the coastline, seabed and surface of the sea.
The project was implemented in three stages: Waste mapping, collection and subsequent management and recovery of waste.
- Waste mapping
The mapping stage was carried out in collaboration with the University of the Aegean and the company “UcanDrone”.It is an innovative action that will provide immediate solutions in the clean-up of marine ecosystems. The main tool for extracting and producing information was a constellation of Unmanned Surface Vehicles carrying sensors and cameras. By flying or sailing over the study area the vehicles transmit real-time data that they are programmed to collect.
- Waste collection
The recording of the waste was followed by their collection and subsequent segregation according to their qualitative composition. The clean-up of the area lasted a total of one week. The collection of waste on land was carried out by the expertized personnel of Polyeco, while on the seabed, the experienced divers of “Divers’ World” removed the waste that had been marked on maps through the mapping process. Wastes were collected on a daily basis at a specially designed sorting point, where they were sorted into predetermined streams. The waste streams created for their subsequent study were: Plastic, Glass, Metal scrap, Aluminum, Wood, Paper, Batteries-Lighters, Tires, Mixed (materials that cannot be recycled).
The project was carried out with the assistance of the Municipality of Palaio Faliro. Volunteers from both companies, as well as from the local community also participated in the cleaning of the coastal zone.
Waste Collection Results
The program resulted in the collection of 11 tons of waste in total from both the seabed and the coast.
More specifically, 11,018kg of waste were collected, of which:
- Tires: 10.155 kg,
- Mixed: 400kg,
- Metal scrap: 231kg,
- Plastic: 132kg,
- Glass: 23kg,
- Aluminium: 16kg,
- Paper: 18kg,
- Wood: 25 kg,
- Batteries & Lighters: 9kg
- Hazardous wastE: 9kg
- Waste Management and Recovery
From the beginning of the project, the aim was to use the collected waste in accordance with the principles of the circular economy. In terms of plastic waste, a total of 132kg was collected, of which 75% – suitable for recycling – became pellets. The large quantities of tires collected from the seabed were taken for recycling to a waste tire management company. Paper and wood waste were used to produce alternative fuels and glass as a raw material for the cement industry. The batteries were recycled in Polyeco’s battery management unit while metal scrap was taken to metal recycling plants. The rest of the waste was transferred to Polyeco’s plant for further management and recovery.
The President and CEO of Nestlé Hellas, Nikos Emmanouilidis, stated: “At Nestlé we believe in the power of cooperation. We joined forces with Polyeco to launch “WE SEA MORE”, a pioneer project that utilizes state-of-the-art technology and scientific knowledge, enabling us to methodically monitor the problem of marine pollution, in order to promote the sustainability of Greek seas.”
In turn, the Vice President of International Development of Polyeco, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, stated: “The world is changing rapidly. Today, more than ever, there is a need to develop skills, business innovation and optimal environmental practices to ensure the long-term prosperity of our planet. For Polyeco, these are the key elements of sustainable development that we can impact.”
This initiative is part of the environmental commitments and priorities of the two companies.