SodaStream launches ocean plastic cleanup effort in Honduras
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SodaStream launches ocean plastic cleanup effort in Honduras

Israeli company, which lets customers add carbonation and flavor to tap water in reusable soda bottles, calls for an end to single-use plastic

SodaStream's "Holy Turtle," a 300-meter (1,000-foot) device the company says can clean plastic garbage from the ocean without harming marine life, seen deployed in a cleanup operation in Honduras. (Courtesy SodaStream International/PRNewsfoto)
SodaStream's "Holy Turtle," a 300-meter (1,000-foot) device the company says can clean plastic garbage from the ocean without harming marine life, seen deployed in a cleanup operation in Honduras. (Courtesy SodaStream International/PRNewsfoto)

SodaStream, the Israeli maker of the popular home carbonation device, has entered the ocean-cleanup business.

The company announced Monday the launch of an operation off the coast of Roatán, Honduras to help clean a massive plastic garbage patch in the area.

“We can’t clean up all the plastic waste on the planet, but we each need to do whatever we can,” CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in a company press release.

“More than 8 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year. This plastic doesn’t disappear. It breaks up into tiny particles, floats in the ocean, endangers marine life and ends up in our food chain,” Birnbaum said. “The most important thing is to commit ourselves to stop using single-use plastic.”

The campaign is also a way for the company to highlight its products. SodaStream sells home kits to add carbonation and flavor to tap water using multiple-use plastic bottles.

Newly elected CEO of PepsiCo, Ramon Laguarta (right), and SodaStream’s Daniel Birnbaum at the signing of the acquisition deal, August 20, 2018, at SodaStream’s offices in Israel. (Lens Productions)

The initiative was “inspired,” the company says, by BBC-aired footage in October 2017 that showed vivid underwater images of “a floating trash patch off the Caribbean coast of Roatán.”

“Moved by the disturbing video, SodaStream CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, himself an experienced skipper and naval officer, led a search for a solution to clean up this floating waste,” the company said.

It commissioned the “Holy Turtle” from the American company ABBCO, a 300-meter (1,000-foot) floating lattice towed by a ship at either end that catches plastic debris in the water but allows fish and other animals to escape its grip through large vent holes.

The device was designed to help contain and clean up oil spills.

The Turtle’s first deployment took place Monday off Roatán’s coast. It was watched by local officials, schoolchildren from seven nearby schools, officials from the Plastic Soup Foundation and 150 SodaStream executives from 45 countries.

The company said it would collect the plastic trash scooped up by the device and turn it into an art installation “to raise awareness and educate consumers” about the importance of “reducing consumption of single use plastic in all forms including plastic cups, straws, bags and bottles.”

PepsiCo recently announced it would purchase the Israeli company for $3.2 billion.

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