Over 5 trillion pieces of plastic currently litter the ocean

Trash accumulates in 5 ocean garbage patches, the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California. If left to circulate, the plastic will impact our ecosystems, health and economies. Solving it requires a combination of closing the source, and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean.


The Ocean Cleanup develops advanced technologies to rid world’s oceans of plastic. One passive system could theoretically remove about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years.

Ocean garbage patches are vast and dispersed

Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world: the subtropical gyres, also known as the world’s “ocean garbage patches”. Once in these patches, the plastic will not go away by itself. The challenge of cleaning up the gyres is the plastic pollution spreads across millions of square kilometers and travels in all directions. Covering this area using vessels and nets would take thousands of years and cost billions of dollars to complete. How can we use these ocean currents to our advantage?

  • Autonomous

    Algorithms help specify the optimal deployment locations, after which the systems roam the gyres autonomously. Real-time telemetry will allow us to monitor the condition, performance and trajectory of each system.

  • Energy neutral

    Our systems fully rely on the natural ocean currents and do not require an external energy source to catch and concentrate the plastic. All electronics used, such as lights and AIS, will be powered by solar energy.

  • Scalable

    By gradually adding systems to the gyre, we mitigate the need for full financing upfront. This gradual scale-up also allows us to learn from the field and continuously improve the technology along the way.

The impact of the cleanup

Our models indicate that a full-scale system roll-out could clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.

Research shows the majority of plastic by mass is currently in the larger debris. By removing the plastic while most of it is still large, we prevent it from breaking down into dangerous microplastics.

Combining the cleanup with source reduction on land paves the road towards a plastic free ocean by 2050.

Concentration of microplastics with and without cleanup in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

From concept to reality

Featured milestones and updates on the path to the cleanup:

the team

We will only be able to fulfil our mission by working together with the best people.

Support the cleanup

Help support the cleanup, as we are working towards proven technology.

“The first real plan to try to clean things up.”
NBC Nightly News
“With Boyan's innovative leadership, I believe The Ocean Cleanup will have an incredibly positive impact on the future of our oceans. I hope other leaders will join us in supporting these efforts.”
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce
“[The Ocean Cleanup's] success could significantly reduce marine animals fatalities and enable numerous marine species [...] to survive”
Ocean Elders
“An incredible proposal”
George Takei, Actor and Activist
“A symbol of not only preaching, but also acting.”
Neelie Kroes, Former European Commissioner
“In order to keep 7.5 billion of us alive and prosperous and healthy, it takes work and it takes initiative. [...] That's what The Ocean Cleanup is all about and we absolutely need their work.”
Chris Hadfield, Astronaut - Commander of Expedition 35
“What is interesting to see [...] is that you are using nature to solve the mess we are doing on this planet.”
André Borschberg, Co-founder of the Solar Impulse project
“[...] there is no doubt that your efforts will truly have lasting, positive impact on our local and international communities.”
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, State of California
“Boyan Slat is inspiring people, organizations and governments to find solutions to the escalating threat of plastic debris in our oceans, while also serving as a reminder to us all that more work needs to be done [...]”
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director


Thanks to our partners we can clean the oceans.