BR.20.012 – S.O.S. – Stop the Ocean Soup

Route: The blue route: water as a pathway to innovation and sustainable growth

Cluster question: 002 What do humans and nature mean to each other and what is the ideal relationship between the two?

Leakage and accumulation of man-made materials into the nature is one of the biggest challenges for mankind, where the presence of undesirable plastics in the marine environment is the most prominent one. An integral solution for this problem requires a multidisciplinary approach that combines the expertise of marine ecology, material science, toxicology, consumer behavior and recycling. S.O.S. project brings together these disciplines based on the fundamental and applied knowledge of coordinator Wageningen University & Research, supported by governmental and non-governmental organizations working on marine clean-up and main stakeholders from the plastic value circle. S.O.S. will build upon three main pillars: (A) Reducing leakage of plastic waste in the ocean; (B) Preventing the accumulation of plastic; and (C) Safe and controlled end-of-life scenarios of high-risk and marine applications. (A) includes detailed studies on which (undesired) plastic products end up in the aquatic environment, investigating consumer behavior that leads to disposal of these plastic products in nature and if fished out of the ocean what type of sorting and recycling strategies could be applied to reuse these plastics. (B) focusses on the development of new marine-degradable materials/products intended to replace the current high-risk and marine applications accumulating in nature, such as food packaging, fishing gear and single-use catering products. A focus point will be the assessment of biodegradation functionality in different aquatic environments as it is one of the most stringent issues that prevents this class of materials to be fully accepted by consumers and industry. (C) will focus on the development of materials/products that are intentionally placed in the sea to restore marine environment, e.g. reef-rehabilitation structures. These structures could be placed in wind-energy parks of the North Sea and help aquatic ecosystem settle and grow in an initially disrupted environment, yet biodegrade after their functional lifetime


Accumulation, Biodegradation, biodiversity, Disposables, Fishing, Litter, Marine, Nets, Ocean, Packaging, Plastic Soup, Reefs, restoration, Sea, Single-use Plastics

Other organisations

Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation Wageningen Research (WUR)
Name Ir. C.H. (Christiaan) Bolck