Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

“Many Hands Make The Whitsundays Cleaner”: Eco Barge Launches Project Titan

Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. has launched its new recycling program, Project Titan, last week which hopes to recycle or repurpose over 8,000 kilograms of collected marine debris from the Whitsunday Islands through the ideas of volunteers.

The Project’s first brainstorming session was held on Thursday at the not-for-profit’s Eco HQ, in Jubilee Pocket, where the group hopes to transform its thousands of kilograms of debris collected over the past two years into reusable products in-house.

A band of volunteers made input to Project Titan – a continually evolving program which takes its namesake from a moon of Saturn - during its first “Think Tank” session and offered their various skillsets to assist.

In the roughly 14 years of Eco Barge’s operation, the not-for-profit has collected over 245,000 kilograms of marine debris and litter from the Whitsunday Islands.

The debris has either previously been sorted as per the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, then recycled or sent to landfill, or, in the past, has been repurposed through efforts both at Eco HQ in a processing machine or was bailed and shipped to recycling plants in Mackay.

Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. founder Libby Edge said those efforts had worked but were extremely difficult and inefficient with such volumes: “It would take 500 days to shred 500-kilograms,” she said.

During internal discussions the idea had formed to “crowdsource” a plan for recycling the debris, and Project Titan was born.

“We discussed what we already tried to do and how those projects weren’t efficient enough,” Ms Edge said.

“Instead of putting the onus on our already overloaded workers, with over 2000 volunteers on our books, we put the word out to them to see what skills they have and how can they help us find a solution.”

At the first meeting, Ms Edge said it was “quite amazing” what the volunteers brought to the table.

“What was discussed was making an iconic product for the Whitsundays out of this debris,” she said.

“Maybe not an art structure – which is something we’ve done before - but something people can replicate for their own home; something that links them to us and shows they directly helped us.”

Ms Edge said that, with the amount of backloaded recyclables they had on site, if they were able to monetise the refuse somehow, it could potentially fund Eco Barge into the future.

“We could make picture-frames, an art sculpture for educational purposes, plastic garden pots, chairs,” she said.

“What Project Titan is doing is bringing Eco Barge back to the volunteers and the skills they can bring. It gives them the ownership. This think tank for the first few meetings is about sieving out things until something goes clunk: what has traction? What are the pitfalls?”

The next Project Titan meeting will coincide with a new moon-phase on Friday, April 28, at 5pm.

In other news