World Ocean Day – How can startups help protect the ocean?

By Anais Masetti - 08 June 2021

June 8 is World Ocean Day, an occasion to celebrate all the goodness of our marine ecosystems but also reflect on how human activity is impacting them. The data doesn’t lie and it’s clear that pollution from anthropogenic origins is contributing to climate change and environmental degradation.

Scientists estimate that oceans contribute to 50-80% of the oxygen on Earth. Moreover, about 3 billion people depend on the oceans for their livelihood. Thus, protecting our marine environments is crucial to ensure economic wellbeing as well as the long-term survival of humankind.

Inspiring startups working to change the tide

We have to change our lifestyles and industrial processes if we are to tackle global warming and protect the seas. Hence, innovation and technology are key to bringing about this change. At Early Metrics, we have rated close to 4000 startups and have found many of them are bringing valuable solutions in this field of marine protection.

Here are a few inspiring startups to celebrate on World Ocean Day:

Upcycling fishing nets

Old fishing nets can be dangerous if discarded in the sea as animals can get tangled. The rated startup Fishy Filaments has found an ingenious way to recycle these nets. It turns them into granules and filaments which can then be used for 3D printing, thus contributing to the circular economy.

Other creative uses of marine waste can be found in sustainable fashion.

An unintrusive way to collect game-changing data

More and more maritime businesses are looking to optimise their routes and processes in a way that limits their impact on marine life. Having access to accurate, real-time data is essential to enable their endeavours. That’s where Open Ocean Robotics comes in: its solar-powered autonomous boats are equipped with sensors that provide real-time information to protect the oceans.

Open Ocean Robotics is led by Julie Angus and was among Early Metrics’ 5 top-rated startups led by female entrepreneurs in 2021.

Building a vacuum cleaner of the seas

Sadly a lot of our waste ends up in the ocean and we must improve our waste management systems to prevent it from affecting the environment. While many projects are in place to clean the ocean, some types of waste are easier to collect than others. Oil spills are particularly tricky to remove from the sea. The rated startup IADY has developed a robot to address this problem. Jellyfishbot can indeed collect both floating waste and oil from the surface of the water.

Finding alternatives to plastic packaging

report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, predicted that by 2050 plastic in the oceans will outweigh fish. Many startups are developing plastic-free materials for biodegradable packaging. For instance, Lactips makes water-soluble materials from milk protein, Notpla creates edible packaging from seaweed and Lyspackaging uses bagasse to make biodegradable materials.

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