One Person Making a Difference

One Person Making a Difference

A little over a decade ago, a young man went for a swim in the ocean near his home in Holland and he noticed something.

It seemed to him that there were as many pieces of plastic as there were fish swimming around him.

Boyan Slat, a teenager at the time, was struggling with the same overwhelm many people invested in the environment face; how to take on a problem several millions of times larger than himself.

How does one kid from Holland clean the oceans of the millions of tons of trash that have accumulated? With tenacity. And technology of course.

Boyan Slat created The Ocean Cleanup and began raising money to put his clean-water plan into action in 2012, when he was just 18 years old. His first TedTalk about the solution to The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the six floating patches of waste that litter our ocean, got some attention.

Boyan’s idea was simple; use hollow, floating tubes that rest on the ocean surface, hanging nets deep into the water. As the natural currents drift through, fish and ocean life are able to pass the net, but plastics and waste are retained.

As of today, Boyan and The Ocean Cleanup have officially removed over 494,000kg – that’s over one million pounds – of plastic and garbage waste from the GPGP

We began Fill It Forward because we wanted to make the act of reuse simple, easy, and fun, and because we believe choosing to reuse is a simple act of generosity that shows our love for the planet, and the people on it.

As of today, Fill It Forward, and our amazing partners, have offset 5.7 million single-use plastic items from the waste stream. We are committed to creating interactive technologies, global giving initiatives and sustainable products that inspire the world to re-use and reduce waste. To read more about Boyan and The Ocean Conservancy check them out The Ocean Cleanup, and to find out more about what we’re doing to reduce plastic waste in our oceans, check us out at

Boyan Slat
CEO and Founder of The Ocean Project Cleanup

Join Our Community Champions and Help Eliminate Single-Use Plastics


Join the Fill it Forward Community

Stay up-to-date on our projects, progress, programs and products.