Israel’s SodaStream sucks up ocean plastic in Honduras cleanup

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

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

Israeli startup SodaStream is doing the unthinkable once again.

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum announced Monday that his company has launched a plastic cleanup operation off the coast of Roatán, Honduras. The area currently has a massive plastic garbage patch, and SodaStream is determined to help out.

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

SodaStream, which carbonates water to create seltzer and soda, is one of Israel’s most successful startups.

In this latest journey, the company will attempt to catch plastic debris thanks to the “Holy Turtle,” which it purchased from American firm ABBCO. This 300-meter, 1,000-foot long floating device is towed by a ship, and it allows sea creatures to escape through vent holes.

A 2017 BBC documentary inspired this voyage, the company said. That footage revealed outstanding underwater images of what was essentially a patch of floating trash right off Roatán’s coast.

SodaStream sent out the “Holy Turtle” on Monday, with 150 company executives from 45 nations on hand to witness this event. Local officials, school children and Plastic Soup Foundation officials also attended the kick-off to this effort.

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.”

This isn’t SodaStream’s first effort at saving the environment. In 2011, the organization teamed with the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, launching a waste-reduction initiative.

A year later, SodaStream joined forces with Trees for the Future, launching the “Replant Our Planet” program. It created a way for the Israeli company to plant thousands of trees in Brazil for each home system they sold through the Rethink Your Soda line.

SodaStream also worked with actress Rosario Dawson to launch an annual “Unbottle the World Day,” starting in July 2012. It calls for awareness on the impact of cans and plastic bottles on the environment and urges the United Nations to designate one day of the year a “Bottle Free Day.”

In August, PepsiCo agreed to purchase the Israeli company for $3.2 billion.