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Holcim’s ocean plastic recovery strengthens circular economy



Holcim has assisted with the launch of a plastic recovering, solar-powered catamaran, with the ability to recover four tonnes of plastic per day for use in new products and alternative energy.

The Circular Explorer was launched in Germany by Holcim, in collaboration with One Earth – One Ocean and endorsed by the Solar Impulse Foundation, all of which have shown a vested interest in the cleaning of habitats and recycling of resources.

Circular Explorer is not just a catamaran, however. It also includes education and science programs to engage with young people in the environmental space.

Holcim chief executive officer Jan Jenisch said Holcim was just playing its part, as all companies should.

“Everyone has a role to play to preserve our ocean. We are proud supporters of the Circular Explorer to be part of the solution,” Jenisch said.

“I am inspired to see how young change-makers can act as catalysts to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Circular Explorer’s education and science programs are designed to mobilise them to take action.”

Test plastics being conveyed on board the Circular Explorer.
Image: Holcim

One Earth – One Ocean founder Günther Bonin said this was a small step for his company, and a big part of why he began in the field.

“One Earth – One Ocean has been working to protect marine ecosystems since 2011,” Bonin said. “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.”

The initiative came just months after Holcim released its green concrete ECOPact to the Australian market, to improve its standing as a world leader in recycled materials.

Holcim Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer George Agriogiannis said the Circular Explorer and Holcim’s wider efforts in sustainability added to a bigger picture.

“Construction materials have the extraordinary advantage of being recyclable, with potential to contribute to a more circular economy resulting in less waste,” Agriogiannis said.

“Holcim launched ECOPact green concrete in Australia earlier this year, with 30 per cent to 60 per cent less embodied carbon.

“We are proud to be directly contributing to a more sustainable environment through local innovations and inspired global projects such as the Circular Explorer.”

Holcim currently recycles about 50 million tonnes of material worldwide, with a goal of doubling that by 2030.


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