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Grant Programme against Marine Litter

Marine Litter

Social Recycling Shipyard – a circular marine litter recycling concept (SRS Brazil)


Black Forest Solutions GmbH

Implementing Partners

seecon International Gmbh; ALTA Geotecnia Ltda.; Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

  • Develop a “Marine Litter Recipe Book” as a step-by-step guide on processing marine plastic litter
  • Build up entrepreneurial skills for circular businesses – focussing on plastic waste and marine litter – in the community, especially with disadvantaged groups
  • Develop and set up a “Social Recycling Shipyard” to produce fisher boats and other items made from plastic litter
  • Expand waste collection and set up community collection points for plastic waste, providing ecopoints as incentives for community members



2024-02-01 till 2026-12-31



Funding Amount

5,999,487.99 €

Reducing marine litter: What are the actual challenges in Guanabara Bay, Brazil?

Guanabara Bay, where the project is carried out, is the most important estuarine system of Rio de Janeiro state, located in the second most important metropolitan region in Brazil. Its drainage basin comprises approximately 4,000km2 with 16 municipalities, 7 main rivers and 51 minor rivers/canals. Moreover, the area encompasses 10 million inhabitants, and is shaped by intense urban and industrial development. Around Guanabara Bay, there are approximately 5 fishermen colonies and more than 10 associations. Guanabara Bay is strongly affected by marine plastic pollution: Around 90 tons of waste enter Guanabara Bay each day. The waste that ends up in Guanabara Bay comes mainly from the surrounding communities and is discharged into the sea via the various rivers that cross these communities. Reasons for this vary, ranging from inadequate infrastructure and logistics for the collection of waste generated in these communities to a lack of awareness and information about the impact that improper waste disposal can have. These factors are combined with lack of financial incentives for proper waste management.

In addition, the surrounding communities are mainly low-income with poor educational backgrounds and sanitary conditions. In these communities, municipal collection services are inadequate and unreliable. Often, houses from such communities are not within the collection route radius and must bring their waste to the nearest collection point. Faced with this situation and due to a lack of awareness, citizens keep looking for the "easiest" way to dispose of their waste, either directly into the rivers or somewhere near their homes. Increasing plastic pollution has also impacted the local fishing sector and is causing hardship for fishermen who rely on healthy fishing grounds to make a living.

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What contribution does the project make to reducing marine litter?

The project aims to prevent and minimize marine litter in the target regions (Guanabara Bay and surrounding communities), following an innovative approach: It focuses on the entrepreneurial potential of marine litter prevention through circular business models. To this end, the project comprises several approaches: Following in-depth analyses not only of the local economic situation, but also of the precise characteristics of plastic waste, the project develops a "Marine Litter Recipe Book". This “recipe book” will include detailed information on plastic waste properties (polymer compositions, blend percentages, additives measures etc.): Its goal is to provide a clear step-by-step guide how to process plastic waste and to make new products of it, to support the development of new social businesses. This will be distributed as an open source document and made available to other projects. In addition, the project also strengthens entrepreneurial skills to promote the development of circular business models with a focus on marine litter/ plastic waste.

At the heart of the project is the foundation of a circular business, the "Social Recycling Shipyard" (SRS). In this pilot shipyard, fishing boats and other equipment are produced from plastic waste. Required plastic waste are collected at collection points in the communities, where consumers also receive digital rewards for their plastic waste as an incentive. The social recycling shipyard is a social business model that involves disadvantaged stakeholder groups, including fishermen in the project region, young people, informal waste workers, young entrepreneurs and women. It provides training and ensures the inclusion of informal waste workers as well as gender justice, and strengthens capacities in vulnerable surrounding communities.