Suzuki Motor Corporation is continually seeking to develop innovative solutions to environmental issues associated with the manufacturing of automotive and marine products and has now developed the world’s first* Micro-Plastic Collecting Device for installation on outboard motors.
Marine plastic waste is a growing environmental issue with a huge amount of mismanaged waste flowing into the oceans each year. The waste then breaks down into micro-plastics in the ocean’s ecosystem, significantly impacting marine life.
To help tackle this issue, Suzuki has focused on the structure of the outboard motor, which pumps up tons of seawater to cool the engine and then returns the water to the ocean.
Suzuki has developed a device which collects micro-plastic waste from the returning water. Through this device, micro-plastic waste can be collected just by running the engine.
The device can be easily installed to the return hose and does not affect the engine performance since it only utilizes the returning water that has already been used to cool the engine.
During monitoring research conducted in Japan, a substantial amount of micro-plastic waste was found within the substances collected in the filter. Research is also currently being conducted internationally with further improvements scheduled for the device going forward.
Suzuki plans to introduce the device as optional from 2021 and incorporate it as a standard feature in the future.
Mark Beeley, Head of Marine & ATV for Suzuki GB, said, “This ground-breaking development is part of Suzuki’s continuing determination to devise innovative solutions that mitigate the serious impact of plastic waste on our natural environment. It marks the first time in marine industry history that an outboard motor cooling system has been utilized to extract micro-plastics from the seawater.”
*Suzuki research: 1 October 2020.
Actual micro-plastic waste collected during the monitoring research
Suzuki Clean Ocean Project
2020 is the 10th year of Suzuki’s continuing activities to clean oceans. As marine plastic waste becomes an increasingly serious and pressing problem, Suzuki has taken the opportunity to review how it has been contributing to the environment and society and look into what it can do to change direction. As well as collecting micro-plastic waste through developing the Micro-Plastic Collecting Device, the project includes the following commitments.
Clean-Up the World Campaign
Suzuki has been voluntarily conducting clean-up activities around seas, rivers, lakes, and ponds where its outboard motors are used. This activity was initiated in 2010 in Hamamatsu, and subsequently carried out globally from 2011. So far, a total of over 8,000 people from 26 countries have participated. 2020 is the 10th anniversary, and Suzuki has committed to continue with this campaign.
Reduce Plastic Packaging
To reduce plastic waste, Suzuki has started taking action towards reducing the plastic packaging of its outboard motor products. Suzuki has adopted alternative packaging materials to some of the products manufactured in June 2020 and is currently assessing feedback from the marketplace.
Suzuki has also started replacing packaging materials from plastic to paper for some of its spare parts beginning with the September 2020 shipment. Approximately 2.3 tons of plastic will be reduced every year if all packaging of marine genuine parts are replaced with eco-friendly materials.
Conventional packaging (left) and paper packaging (right) of Suzuki marine genuine parts
Propelling the Suzuki Clean Ocean Project is one of Suzuki’s initiatives to solve social issues listed in its Sustainable Development Goals. It also expresses Suzuki’s commitment to pursue its brand slogan of “THE ULTIMATE OUTBOARD MOTOR” from an environmental aspect.
In order to clean the ocean, the Suzuki Marine Team will promote the Suzuki Clean Ocean Project together with partners and boat users around the world.
Symbol mark of the Suzuki Clean Ocean Project
Images courtesy of Suzuki