Reverse Vending Machines Capturing 35bn Waste Bottles Annually

TOMRA Backs Plastic Pollution Research eXXpedition as Leader Speaks at IFAT 2018

TOMRA, has come on board as the Title Sponsor for eXXpedition’s next highly anticipated all-women plastic research voyage North Pacific 2018.


Crossing the finish line of eXXpedition Atlantic.

Recycling and reverse vending recycling equipment firm, TOMRA, has come on board as the Title Sponsor for eXXpedition’s next highly anticipated all-women plastic research voyage North Pacific 2018

Coinciding with today’s announcement, Emily Penn, Ocean Advocate and Co-founder of eXXpedition, the British Community Interest Company that specialises in all-women sailing expeditions, joined a high-profile panel discussion on marine litter at IFAT 2018.

Penn has spent the last decade exploring plastic pollution from the tropics to the Arctic and she’s on a mission to inspire and facilitate a community of changemakers through eXXpedition, and by training and engaging top athletes, policy makers, business leaders and celebrities to be impactful advocates on ocean issues.

eXXpedition North Pacific 2018, in collaboration with TOMRA, aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the devastating impact of single-use plastic and toxics in the world’s oceans
  • Celebrate women in science, leadership and adventure
  • Create a community of female change-makers and inspiring global ambassadors to tackle the environmental and health impacts of plastic pollution
  • Champion and contribute to innovative scientific research to tackle the crisis.

Working across more than 60 markets worldwide, Title Sponsor TOMRA collects 35 billion used drink containers every year for reuse and recycling through its reverse vending solutions.

Speaking to WMW today, Tom Eng, Head of TOMRA Sorting Solutions, Recycling noted statistics produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which show that currently, only 2% of the world’s plastic packaging is turned into new packaging, while 32% ends up in our oceans, nature and communities.

When a financial value is given to bottles and cans through a container deposit system, TOMRA said that it is able to collect up to 97% of used beverage containers – ensuring that the bottles are kept in the clean loop and do not end up in our oceans as litter.

TOMRA circular economy communicator Kristine M. Berg will also join the North Pacific 2018 voyage as a crew member, contributing to its Expert team focused on different solutions for protecting oceans.

Berg’s background in Industrial Ecology and sustainability, and connection to circular economy via TOMRA, adds unique expertise to the eXXpedition team.  

“TOMRA is dedicated to reducing plastic pollution on land and at sea, so eXXpedition’s goals to track the impact of ocean plastic and raise awareness of the environmental consequences of marine litter are very close to our hearts,” she explained.

“We are excited to extend our contribution by coming on board as Title Sponsor for the North Pacific voyage and rolling up our sleeves to participate in the journey, to experience the scale of the issue first hand and help build urgency and understanding around the topic of marine litter,” she added.

eXXpedition Prepares for Departure
The eXXpedition crew will be sailing Sea Dragon, a 72ft scientific exploration vessel from Oahu, Hawaii to Vancouver, British Columbia (June 23rd - July 15th 2018) and then from Vancouver to Seattle (July 21st - July 28th 2018) where the journey will end.

A roster of events in each place will be announced closer to the departure. The crew will sail 3000 nautical miles through the densest ocean plastic accumulation zone on the planet – better known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch because of the plastic that gathers there. 

The eXXpedition voyage team is a diverse and international group of 24 women. Crew members will make daily trawls for plastics and pollutants, and collect data for a variety of global datasets and scientific studies during the voyage, which is endorsed by the UN Environment #CleanSeas initiative and Ocean Wise.

 “It’s a dream for us to welcome TOMRA as our Title Sponsor for the eXXpedition North Pacific voyage. For over 45 years they’ve made it their business to be innovative leaders in the resource revolution providing smart solutions for our planet’s resources,” said Penn.

“Like TOMRA, we believe that in order to move forward, we all need to rethink and rework how things have been in the past. We hope our voyage will inspire others to do just that. To be a platform for ambassadors to take forward projects tackling plastics and toxics, and raise the profile of the issues to create change at a personal and organisational level, and influence national and international policy makers,” she concluded.

All costs of the expedition are covered by crew contributions and mission sponsors which include Title Sponsor: TOMRA plus Gold Sponsor: The Copernicus Marine Service and Silver Sponsors: Princess Yachts, Hawk Yachts, Iridium & Global Marine Networks plus Bronze Sponsors: Daedalus Yachts, Y.CO, Iridium and Finisterre - to date. Partnerships for the expedition include Parley for the Oceans, 11th Hour Racing, UN Environment & Clean Seas, Ocean Wise, Pangaea Explorations, Biodiversity Research Institute, Marine Debris Tracker & Another World Adventures.

An Ocean Explorer podcast with Emily Penn can be listened to below.

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