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Catching Up with The Ocean Cleanup

Technology Podcasts

Catching Up is a podcast by The Ocean Cleanup, giving you updates and insights from the team behind the non-profit organization. The Ocean Cleanup is designing and developing cleanup systems to clean up what is already polluting our oceans and to intercept plastic on its way to the ocean via rivers. Their end goal is to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.




Catching Up is a podcast by The Ocean Cleanup, giving you updates and insights from the team behind the non-profit organization. The Ocean Cleanup is designing and developing cleanup systems to clean up what is already polluting our oceans and to intercept plastic on its way to the ocean via rivers. Their end goal is to remove 90% of floating ocean plastic by 2040.




Conversation Starter | What does your river mean to you?

It’s not just about plastic - it’s about people, too. Suleman Audu, Environmental Manager at The Ocean Cleanup, takes us from his schoolboy Environmental Club days back in Nigeria to his vital role in our mission: making sure our river deployments bring the right benefits for the people living alongside them. Every river is unique - and so is every riverside community, particularly when the river is vital for local needs. Suleman explains how he and his colleagues work to understand plastic pollution from the local’s point of view - and use our deployments to help them to solve it. Suleman also speaks to the power of empathy, how his experiences help him connect with our stakeholders and listen to what matters to them, and his pride and passion in joining our mission to rid the oceans of plastic.


2023 Accomplished | How We Did

It’s been a stellar year for The Ocean Cleanup. New deployments, global negotiations, and an incredible global catch total of over 8 million kg (almost 18 million lb!) of trash removed from oceans and rivers worldwide. So as a special holiday gift, Catching Up is serving a selection of 2023 highlights from our chats with crew members (and special guests) this year - curated and presented by your always-festive host, Dan van der Kooy. From the entire crew of The Ocean Cleanup, we thank you for listening and coming with us on this mission to rid the oceans of plastic. We wish each of you a very happy new year, and we can’t wait to share 2024 with you - so make sure you’re subscribed. You can donate to help clean our oceans - join us at


Data-driven | What's the pattern?

Data is nothing without the brains to understand it correctly - and we have just the brain for the job. From plastic-infested riverbanks in the Caribbean to diplomatic meetings in Kenya, Renata Correia has spent four years crossing the world with The Ocean Cleanup, analyzing and enhancing the data we gather on plastic pollution. Renata takes us through her journey: from her horror at her first sight of the scale of plastic pollution in Guatemala, to her current role as the 'data whisperer' in our Rivers program. Every river is different, and solid data helps us see where plastic pollution comes from and lets us measure our impact in tackling it. As Head of Performance and Analysis for our Rivers team, Renata tells Catching Up how her constant curiosity keeps her searching for new answers, and how she guides an expert team of scientists around the world to connect the dots and spot the patterns across a planet's worth of plastic data. Find our more about The Ocean Cleanup's work researching plastic in rivers here: and the 1000 rivers around the world that our models predict as the top polluters here:


#Teamseas Report | Engineers & Influencers

It all started with an idea on a napkin...and now #TeamSeas is celebrating 20 million lbs (9 million kilograms!) of trash removed around the world. Catching Up speaks to Matt Fitzgerald, co-founder of the #TeamSeas campaign, about why he, Mark Rober, and MrBeast decided to combine forces to clean oceans, rivers, and beaches worldwide - and how the true legacy of the campaign is the passion it inspires every day. Matt tells us how #TeamSeas has captured the imagination of millions of young people worldwide, and how The Ocean Cleanup's Jamaica deployments are spreading knowledge and awareness far beyond our Interceptors. He reveals how getting arrested with his grandmother during a climate protest inspired him to continue his work as an organizer in the climate movement - and he shares some truly shocking theories on the tooth fairy...


Offshore Legend | A Major Inspiration

Flemming Sloth Andersen is a name that will forever be linked to our ocean cleaning operations. Flemming has spent over one year of his life at sea with The Ocean Cleanup, and here - directly from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - he tells us the ups and the downs, from early prototype challenges to System 03’s unprecedented plastic extractions. Flemming takes us through his remarkable career on land and at sea and gives insight into what makes our work in the GPGP so unique. He also tells us of his deep conviction that his generation has a responsibility to the next, and how his six grandchildren inspire him to keep cleaning year after year.


Family Vibes | Transforming Kingston Harbour

Rae Town, Kingston, Jamaica: an iconic location and the perfect place to catch up on The Ocean Cleanup's Jamaica project. With five Interceptors deployed in gullies around the city (and more on the way) one guest wasn't enough: Dan van der Kooy speaks to Alecia Beaufort, Operations Manager for Clean Harbours Jamaica, and Dominik Haertl, Business Development Manager at The Ocean Cleanup, about how this enormous project got started and how we've responded to Kingston's unique circumstances. Alecia and Dominik speak about how local people - from fishing communities to visiting schoolchildren - are benefiting and learning from our Interceptor deployments, and how our collaboration with local government and vital partners such as the GraceKennedyFoundation and Clean Harbours Jamaica isn't just about intercepting plastic, but also about a wider project to improve quality of life for Kingston's community.


Plastic Studies | Poring Over Polymers

"Science has always been my passion.” Sarah-Jeanne Royer, our resident oceanographer and research scientist on plastic degradation, has a storied background. In this episode, she takes us from her childhood in Quebec to catching a wave and peaceful island life in Hawaii… with a stop along the way to study for her degree while in a bunker in war-torn Afghanistan. Sarah tells a slightly worse-for-wear Dan van der Kooy how plastic marine debris on Hawaiian beaches is similar to trash found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, along with the importance of staying focused (and very, very patient) when conducting research. She also ponders whether or not it’s worth spending time and energy to handle emotion-led criticism (“it makes me sad”) and tells us why we’re all “shedding plastic” when we work out.


Boyan’s Mind | Reflections from Guatemala and beyond

Alongside the newly-deployed Interceptor 006 in Guatemala, CEO and Founder of The Ocean Cleanup, Boyan Slat, reflects on the four-year campaign to intercept tsunamis of trash in this one-of-a-kind river. From perseverance to partnerships, Boyan explains the vital ingredients for a successful launch and celebrates the 1m kilograms of trash already intercepted. Boyan tells us more on a range of topics, from the importance of the negotiations for a Global Plastic Treaty to our plans for improving efficiency in our GPGP cleanup. He also speaks of his personal growth during the last year, how he handles the responsibilities that come with success, and gives his hot take on one of 1995's biggest movies.


Constant Improvement | Passing The Torch

After three years in the Dominican Republic, Operations Manager Erik Holmbom is preparing to return to HQ in Rotterdam. Catching Up speaks to Erik to find out what he's learned during his posting in the Caribbean, and how Interceptor 004 has overcome initial problems to become a valuable and appreciated presence for the community in Santo Domingo. Erik describes how working at The Ocean Cleanup has rewired his brain to solve problems and how partners – ranging from the Dominican Navy to UNDP – are crucial for our operations on the ground. Erik also answers your questions and reveals a slightly unusual lifelong dream: to sail a 6.5m bathtub across the Atlantic – all alone.


The Fixer | The IT connection in the history of our technology company

The technology at The Ocean Cleanup goes way beyond only what is visible in the oceans and rivers. Our IT Manager, Steven Bink, discusses his role in the history of the organization and how the excitement from another well known technology company is opening the door to an exciting future of ridding the world's oceans of plastic.


The Gatekeeper | So what do you do with my money?

Ridding the oceans of plastic costs money - lots of it. As a non-profit project, every cent The Ocean Cleanup spends comes from a donor somewhere in the world. So how do our supporters know we’re spending their hard-earned cash correctly? Catching Up speaks to Joy Gao, Finance Director at The Ocean Cleanup, as she cuts through the numbers to answer the big questions: how do we spend our money? How can supporters trust that their donations - from kids’ piggy bank savings to billionaire philanthropy - are spent the right way? And just how did she end up choosing Rotterdam and The Ocean Cleanup over a possible career in K-pop? Find all of our podcasts and learn more about our mission to rid the oceans of plastic at


Building Bridges | Planet-sized Problems

Plastic pollution afflicts the whole world, and solving it requires countries, governments and other organizations to work together. To rid the oceans of plastic, we need action at every level: upstream change alongside our downstream cleanup, for a full life-cycle solution. But how do you get nearly 200 countries to agree on a plan? João Ribeiro-Bidaoui, General Counsel and Director of Global Public Affairs, speaks to Catching Up to explain how The Ocean Cleanup isn’t just cleaning plastic, but is also building partnerships and working to influence anti-plastic pollution policies at the highest global levels - not only within the countries where we operate, but also in the critical negotiations for a potential UN Plastics Treaty.


Looking Ahead | Maps, models and monitoring

Ridding the oceans of plastic doesn’t start on the sea - it starts in the lab. Head of Research Laurent Lebreton calls in from New Zealand to tell us how research and data-driven science form the foundation for everything The Ocean Cleanup does - and how better data make us better cleaners. Through academic conferences to long-term ocean research voyages, Laurent speaks of his pride at his team’s pioneering work gathering data on plastic pollution, and guides us through the story of how a startup evolved into a leader in ocean plastic research.


2022 Wrapped | Another wild year

Trying to tie up an entire year at The Ocean Cleanup is an impossible thing, especially in a year with so many monumental projects happening at the same time. Listen as the Executive Producer of Documentary Content, and host of Catching Up, Dan van der Kooy, looks back at some of the conversations he had throughout 2022 with team members from all around the planet.


Keeping Promises | What’s in a name?

With a few Florida manatees for company, The Ocean Cleanup’s Head of Communications Joost Dubois gives us the story behind telling the story. Joost tells us what drives him to keep growing the story of the largest cleanup in history, explains how The Ocean Cleanup’s name stands as a mark of our integrity and transparency, and rolls back the years to share the highlights of his journey so far as our self-styled ‘Chief Promises Officer’.


Operational Pressure | What It Really Takes to Deploy an Interceptor

From alongside Interceptor 007, Operations Manager Alex Mills talks about some of the highs and lows that he has been a part of during his career at The Ocean Cleanup, along with what goes on behind the scenes during the assembly, operations, and maintaining an Interceptor in various locations around the world. He also "skates" into some of his favorite hobbies and what the last month has been like for him throughout the exhausting experience of setting up Interceptor 007 in Los Angeles County.


Little Sparks | Finish What We Started

Exciting times for our Oceans program: record catch figures, improved efficiency, and in transition to System 03 - the perfect time to catch up with our new Director Oceans a.i., Joël Jansen, so he can tell us how it’s all going. Joël discusses our scale-up and the measures taken in our constant effort to reduce our environmental footprint. He also speaks about cynical social media reactions, how his journey to The Ocean Cleanup began many years ago with a Panini sticker album, and how he is inspired by the environment and his family to continue striving to rid the oceans of plastic.


Big Challenges | Make it or Break it

Every non-profit stands or falls on its finances. Luckily, The Ocean Cleanup’s new Chief Financial Officer, Stacey Santoso, brings a wealth of experience, first from the corporate world and later from her time as Head of Global Finance at Greenpeace. Stacey describes the passions driving her financial career and the importance of local empathy when operating globally. Stacey also shares fascinating personal insights into how she perceives cleanup operations in the country of her birth, Indonesia.


Dream Job | The How and the Why

From Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river, River Surveyor Engineer David Higgins explains how he identifies which rivers can most benefit from our intervention. David shares the emotions he has experienced in his ‘dream job’ with The Ocean Cleanup, reveals how a new river operation takes shape, and shares his personal journey from surfing on the shores of southwest Ireland to intercepting plastic in the world’s most polluting rivers.


So Close | Boyan back in Guatemala

Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, describes his contrasting emotions following the first trial of the Interceptor Trashfence in Guatemala. Boyan shares how he takes learnings from disappointments, updates us on The Ocean Cleanup’s progress in the Pacific Ocean over the last year, and reveals how operations to rid our oceans of plastic are ready to be scaled up across the globe.