Coop Italia removes 42 tons of plastic from the sea

The retailer launched the project three years ago, using a combination of trash-eating gadgets, drones and divers

Retailer Coop Italia is helping to clear the Italian seas of plastic by installing trash-eating devices, using offshore drones and employing scuba diving teams.

The co-op presented an update on its A sea of ideas for our waters project at the Barcolana Sea Summit, held in Trieste on 5-7 October. The campaign started three years ago and has so far seen the collection of 42 tons of plastic.

With the technical support of Lifegate, a benefit corporation which helps businesses with sustainability, Coop Italia has installed 46 Seabins. These collection bins float in water and can capture around 1.5 kg of waste per day, equal to over 500 kg of debris a year each.

Another innovation was the installation of Trash Collec’Thor devices on floating docks of ports and marinas – these are capable of collecting up to 100 kilos of waste.

The co-op also uses Pixie drones, which enable the recovery of 60 kg of floating waste for each mission.

Building on this work, Coop Italia has been working with a team of expert divers who have gone down to the seabed at ports to manually collect waste from the sand.

The co-op has also committed to a circular economy approach, focusing on using recycled plastic. Between 2018 and 2021 it replaced 10,000 tons of virgin plastic with recycled plastic.