RWE and the MARE Foundation to fish out plastic waste in the port of Ustka

RWE Offshore Wind GmbH

  • Every year tonnes of plastic waste end up on the beaches and in the open seas. The problem of plastic waste also affects the Baltic Sea
  • On average, 50 to 300 pieces of marine litter can be found every 100 metres along the Baltic Sea beaches, 70 per cent of this waste is plastic
  • To help tackle this problem, RWE, together with the MARE Foundation and the Ustka Port Authority, will install a PortBin sea basket to fish waste directly out of the water in Ustka’s sea port

Ustka, 8 November 2023

The amount of plastic waste floating in the seas and along the coastline is a major environmental challenge for any coastal community. According to HELCOM, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, an average of 50 to 300 pieces of marine litter can be found every 100 metres along the beaches of the Baltic Sea, 70 per cent of which is plastic. It is also a huge threat to marine organisms and the entire marine ecosystem - plastic does not decompose, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that marine organisms mistake for food. This is how microplastic particles e.g. find their way into the human food chain.

Protecting the environment is at the core of RWE’s strategy. That is why RWE has partnered with the MARE Foundation, a Polish non-governmental organisation focused on the protection of the Baltic ecosystem. Together they will install a sea basket PortBin in the port of Ustka to catch waste directly from the water. This project is supported by the Ustka Sea Port Authority.

The PortBin is designed to be the optimum solution for collecting floating debris in ports and free-flowing bodies of water, using a skimmer to suck floating waste into the bin. It is equipped with a 30 liter basket and is very durable and weather resistant. The PortBin is made entirely of recycled plastic. It is also 100% recyclable, in line with the closed loop economy.

Marcin Sowinski, Project Lead at RWE Offshore Development Poland: “We are planning a long-term presence in the Port of Ustka in connection with the maintenance and operation of our first offshore wind farm in Poland, F.E.W. Baltic II. And we are looking into the development of further projects in the Polish Baltic Sea. This is why we want to help improve the marine environment around the Port of Ustka and contribute to its sustainable development. The PortBin at the Port of Ustka will be in operation for at least three years and we will cooperate closely with the project partners to monitor the impact of its work.”

Olga Sarna, CEO of the MARE Foundation: “Since the 1970s, plastics production has grown faster than any other material. Of the seven billion tonnes of plastic waste produced worldwide to date, less than 10 per cent has been recycled. Millions of tonnes end up in the environment every year. In addition, around 98 per cent of single-use plastic products are made from fossil fuels. This shows that the problem of plastic is not only a problem of pollution and the infiltration of microplastics into every nook and cranny of the planet and ourselves, but also a major contributor to the growing climate crisis. The PortBin Sea Bins we are installing are designed to raise awareness of this issue by educating the local community, while clearing the harbour basins of litter before it breaks down. The bins are made from recycled materials.”

Maciej Karaś, President of the Ustka Seaport Authority: “Today’s times require continuous measures to reduce environmental impact. The Port of Ustka is located at the mouth of the River Słupia, which means that we need to ensure that the pollutants carried by the river are removed before they reach the Baltic Sea, from where they are much more difficult to remove. The installation of the sea basket will be the first step towards achieving this task. We are pleased to be part of this joint project. The installation of the basket will help to improve the cleanliness of the inner harbour waters.”

F.E.W. Baltic II – RWE’s first offshore wind farm off the Polish coast

RWE is progressing with the development of its first offshore wind farm off the Polish coast. The F.E.W. Baltic II offshore project is located north of the Słupsk sand bank in the exclusive economic zone in the central Polish Baltic Sea. With a planned installed capacity of 350 megawatts, the wind farm will be capable of producing enough green electricity to supply the equivalent of around 350,000 Polish households. Development is well underway with commissioning expected by the end of this decade. The Port of Ustka will be the future base for operating and maintaining RWE's F.E.W. Baltic II offshore wind farm.

Pictures of the PortBin sea basket for media use are available at the RWE Media Centre. Credit: RWE, Photograph: Bartosz Bańka

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