Growing up in Byron Bay, on the east coast of Australia, Pete Ceglinski always felt connected to the ocean. Fighting to protect it felt as natural to him as breathing.
“Where I’m from, we start surfing at six or seven years old and never look back,” he explains. “It teaches you to respect the waves and look after them.”
In his “first life” Ceglinski designed and engineered plastic-injection molded products, but that career was a miserable fit. He was the person behind an endless parade of gadgets that were made to be used for a year then break — actively contributing to the planet’s trash problem. It felt like a betrayal of the ocean that he’d sworn to protect.
Troubled by this realization, Ceglinski quit his grind to spend the next several years traveling around the world, building boats. It kept him near the ocean and reduced his own footprint. But it still didn’t feel like enough. As the vagabond went from harbor to harbor and marina to marina, he was devastated by the amount of trash he saw. The takeaway was clear: The ocean was in crisis and it needed someone to help in the fight.
“Everywhere we went there was all this debris, floating trash, and just… really disgusting stuff in the marinas,” he says. “We just thought, ‘If you have rubbish bins on the land, why can’t we put them in the water?’ We started off with that simple idea.”
Ceglinski and co-founder Andrew Turton daydreamed about creating an aquatic trash collector. They wanted a life filled with surfing and enjoying the ocean while also having a positive impact on the environment. After years of making plastic-products, Ceglinski felt like it was time to give back.
“I had always just done things for myself,” he says. “This was the golden opportunity to be creative and to make an impact.”