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Seaport Museum will be home of East Coast’s first pollution-fighting Seabins
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Seaport Museum will be home of East Coast’s first pollution-fighting Seabins

The V5 Seabin will make its Delaware River debut on April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

The newest – and nameless – addition to the Independence Seaport Museum weighs more than 120 pounds, collects cigarette butts and floats.

The museum announced Sunday it will place two V5 Seabins in the Penn’s Landing Marina, making the Delaware River the only East Coast location with the innovative marine litter collection devices.

Developed by two Australian surfers, the V5 Seabin is a black cylindrical vessel, made from recycled materials, with an electric pump. It sits in marinas and ports, almost entirely submerged.

“The unit acts as a floating garbage bin skimming the surface of the water by pumping water into the device,” according to The Seabin Project, which works to rid the world’s oceans of pollution.

courtesy of The Seabin Project

The Seabin Project says the product collects up to 1.4 tons of debris annually, scooping up single-use plastic bags, plastic bottles, disposable cups, discarded cigarettes, and even some microplastics.

Special pads on the unit can absorb petroleum-based surface oils and detergent.

Seabins at the Seaport

The Seaport Museum will drop one of its two Seabins in the water on April 22, about two years after the maritime educational institution first asked its Delaware River Fellows to find a solution to the discarded trash in the river basin.

A grant from the William Penn Foundation covered the $12,000 price tag for the two units, which will be attached to the museum’s dock.

Twice a day, the museum’s River Ambassadors will haul the unit out of the river, empty the catch bag, and weigh and log each piece of debris.

Once the ambassadors’ data collection is complete, the debris will be funneled into the museum’s own trash and recycling collection service.

The Old City institution is still deciding if it should keep some of the debris “to illustrate the volume of trash collected,” the museum said.

The Seabin Project estimates it will cost about $3 per day to run each floating rubbish receptacle, which the museum said it will likely remove from the water during the winter months.

Help wanted: Name the Seaport’s Seabins!

Before the Seabins get put to work, however, the museum is asking for the public’s help in naming the new additions.

Make a suggestion on the museum’s Facebook post by April 5. The winning name will be announced during the April 22 launch.


Lead support is provided by William Penn Foundation.

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Alison Burdo
Alison Burdo is a project manager with Green Philly, focusing on the development and execution of its coverage of the Delaware Watershed. A Philadelphia-based journalist for the past seven years, Burdo most recently supported the launch of the Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting. Her experience includes reporting exclusive, enterprise stories on the 2015 papal visit and the 2016 Democratic National Convention; leading an investigation into the epidemic of unsolved missing persons cases; and regularly breaking news related to Philadelphia's precedent-setting soda tax. View all posts by Alison Burdo

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