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2020 / 2021 Edition

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‘Circular Explorer’ starts journey to protect the ocean

Circular Explorer

Holcim part of mission to help clean plastic waste from the ocean, while advancing marine science and education

THE Circular Explorer, developed by One Earth - One Ocean (oeoo) and made possible by Holcim, starts its mission today to clean up the ocean from plastic waste, while advancing marine science and education.

Putting the circular economy to work, the catamaran has the capacity to recover four tonnes of plastic waste daily for recycling into new applications from new products to alternative energy.

To empower broad-based action, it runs an education programme targeting students as changemakers, and serves as a science laboratory to advance marine research in partnership with leading marine institutes.

Inaugurated today in Hamburg, Germany, in the presence of Swiss explorer and environmentalist Bertrand Piccard, the 100% solar-powered catamaran starts its journey in the Baltic Sea, where it will kick-off of its education and science programmes.

In 2022 it will be deployed to Manila Bay in the Philippines, which the country’s government and private sector partners are rehabilitating, to start its plastic recovery and recycling work.

Bertrand Piccard, founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation, said: ‘Since my round-the-world solar flight in 2016, I have given the Solar Impulse Foundation the challenge of identifying 1,000 solutions to protect the environment in a profitable way.

‘It is fascinating to see the potential of innovation to turn world challenges into opportunities. The Circular Explorer is a great example, with its vital mission to push the boundaries of the circular economy to protect our ocean from plastic waste. I am excited to witness it as it embarks on its journey and will follow every step of its action.’

Günther Bonin, founder of One Earth - One Ocean, said: ‘With One Earth - One Ocean, we have been working to protect marine ecosystems since 2011. The Circular Explorer is our most advanced experiment to date.

‘Fully powered by solar energy and designed to recover four tonnes of plastic waste per day, I look forward to seeing it make a real difference.’

Jan Jenisch, chief executive of Holcim, said: ‘Everyone has a role to play to preserve our ocean. We are proud supporters of the Circular Explorer as part of the solution.

‘I am inspired to see how young changemakers can act as catalysts to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Circular Explorer’s education and science programmes are designed to mobilize them to take action.’

Starting its journey in Germany, the Circular Explorer will spend three months in the Baltic Sea, with a focus on driving its education and science programmes, while participating in key events, such as Climate Week in Hamburg.

In 2022, it will relocate to Manila Bay in the Philippines to start its plastic recovery and recycling work, while advancing its education and science programmes and engaging with local communities.

As they launch the Circular Explorer, Holcim have become a partner of the Solar Impulse Foundation to contribute to its mission of driving clean technologies that are good for the planet and commercially sustainable.

The partnership builds on Holcim’s 17 efficient solutions labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation as positive for the planet, such as ECOPact, the world’s broadest range of carbon-neutral concrete.

As a world leader in recycling, Holcim are launching the Circular Explorer as a symbol of their commitment to driving the circular economy and preserving nature. On their net-zero journey, today Holcim recycle 50 million tonnes of materials across their business, on their way to 100 million tonnes by 2030.

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