Mainland High School
Lord of the Trash Rings: ISTF 09-2004
Component Two
Identify two companies and one product produced by each company that directly relate to the NCT technical application your team has selected.
Porex, founded 45 years ago, is an international corporation that has its global office in in Fairburn, Georgia; as well as manufacturing plants and offices in Scotland, Malaysia, and Germany. Its porous products are have been used in healthcare, industrial, and consumer applications. Porex is famous for the design characteristics of its porous plastics: "an intricate network of open-celled, omni-directional pores that offer exceptional performance on and below the surface.

The professionals at Porex have expertise in "polymer science, process control and chemical, mechanical, industrial, biological and research engineering." Their motto is to inspire, imagine, and innovate.

Two of its divisions work in areas that directly relate to our product are porous products and filtration. They have developed tubular membrane modules with three distinctive pore sizes that have been used in removing various impurities from water treatment systems. Similar, yet differently purposed, is their sand bed filter support. The filter allows for years of service, yet can be "backwashed" for cleaning and then returned to work.


United Marine International, UMI, is a company with the solution to marine pollution at the top of their priority list. UMI, started in the late 1970's, is currently the world's top producer of trash skimmers for clean-up purposes. The first application of their products was for weed and branch clean-up but after numerous customer suggestions and accumulating resources they introduced a new line of skimmers in the 1980's with the sole purpose of cleaning up trash and debris. Currently 70+ trash skimmers are being used internationally. The products produced by UMI have been showcased on Mega Machines and have saved harbors in cities such as Chicago, New York, and even as far out as Hong Kong. Their largest TrashCat, the 12000 Series, is 16 feet wide by 2.5 feet deep and can store up to 12,000 pounds or 700 cubic feet of debris.

Image courtesy of UMI

Due to our project's emphasis on plastic pollution, we have included a third company which consults on increasing the efficiency of processing and recycling plastics.
Nextek Limited, a consulting company with offices in London and Australia, specializes in the field of "design, optimization, processing and recycling of polymeric materials".

Nextek's vision is a world where all plastics are biodegradable and are used responsibly to prevent pollution in the world. This group is not just dreaming about this idea, but trying their best to make it reality through the research of better ways to shrink the impact made by plastic usage and creating environmentally-friendly innovations that aid in efficient plastic manufacturing. Nextek strives to make other companies aware of what is required in order for an ideal future where Earth's resources are still abundant. Nextek's services focus on: high performance recycling, sustainable packaging, and a Polymer expertise used to improve global plastic designs daily. Progress has earned them multiple awards ranging from: EDIE Award for Environmental Excellence, The Plastics Industry Awards 2007 finalist spot, and a Gold-'Best Use of Innovative Materials' at the Starpack Packaging Awards of 2007. Their current projects include working on products such as the development of a PET recycling plant for Closed Loop London and the creation of a new FDA Food Grade PET Recycling Process. Nextek Limited's strong zeal for pollution prevention is coupled with its desire to efficiently use raw materials and increasingly scare resources to create a better life for the people of this planet.
Identify one professional association or trade organization associated with the products your team identified.
       its name,
       description of its mission, and
       number of people/companies involved.

Image courtesy of The Society of Naval Architects & Maine Engineers
The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, SNAME, is a professional organization dealing with hydrodynamics and other scientific areas dealing with the design and manufacturing of ships and coastal installations.
SNAME was organized in 1893, to advance the art, science, and practice of naval architecture, shipbuilding and marine engineering. For over a century members have included commercial and governmental practitioners, students, and educators of naval architecture, shipbuilding, and marine and ocean engineering.
Currently there are over 8500 members that contribute to SNAME and it's goal of sharing and advancing the knowledge and know-how of marine engineering and naval architecture.

Their most recent convention was held on October 21st-23rd, 2009, in Providence, Rhode Island. Altair Engineering lead an session on Simulation Technologies to innovate, model, analyze, and optimize marine and offshore structures. There was also panel seesions that discussed ocean alternative energy and unmanned and autonomous ships of the future. All of which relate to aspects of how to transport, power, and maintain our artificial harbors.
Since our primary focus is on plastics and plastic pollution, we thought it appropriate to also cite the following second organization.

Image courtesy of
The Society of the Plastics Industry
The Society of the Plastics Industry, SPI, is a non-profit management organization headquartered in Washington D.C; representing the entire plastics industry from processers to raw material suppliers. In total it consists of over 800 members, all of whom are directly connected to the plastics industry. It has three main objectives: (1) to serve as the spokesperson for the plastics industry, (2) to promote and enhance the public image and accomplishments of the plastics industry, and (3) to expedite growth and technology advancements for the plastics industry.

SPI has put forth public policy statements regarding its environmental policy, product stewardship, and degradeable plastics. All of which match our project's goals.

These objectives are accomplished by
  • representing the industry before state and federal bodies
  • establishing new programs which advance and serve the needs of the growing industry; for example, the Bioplastics council, and
  • acting as an informational resource for its members
One of the society's most successful programs is the resin identification code. The program places a symbol on all plastics around the country, identifying resin content in plastics and facilitating the recycling of plastic refuse. SPI also sponsors the International Plastics Showcase, a large convention which showcases the plastics industry and its advancements. NPE2009 was held in Orlando, Florida, from June 22-26th.
Propose and describe a new product or new process based on your team's NCT technical application.
Our product is a stationary, yet portable, array of artificial harbors whose purpose is to passively collect floating plastic and other debris carried by the ocean's currents.

Image courtesy of Frank S.
Via the Internet, locate a company that might be able to manufacture your team's proposed product. Send the company an e-mail asking that someone in the company evaluate the product your team proposed. If your team is not able to obtain a response to your inquiry, provide on your website an example of the e-mail request you sent and the names of manufacturers to whom you sent the request.
During the months of January and February, we sent emails to six plastic companies asking for their assistance. One company responded by saying that they did not have the man power to dedicate time to our project. The other five companies did not respond at all. Our email was sent to all of their listed online contact addresses. In each request we highlighted one of their products with a link to their website as well as a link to our product page and the following four questions:
  1. Could large sheets of porous plastic membranes be manufactured (not necessarily now with your plant equipment, but conceivable)?
  2. Could a membrane be designed to have neutral buoyancy in ocean water (1023 g/cm^3)?
  3. Could a rigid, porous structure shaped like a wing be designed (regardless of size)?
  4. Could the wing have a gradient in pore size? No porosity at the leading edge; increase porosity as the wing moves towards the opposite tip?
We emphasized in our request that we only needed an estimate based on their professional expertise; not an actual protoype. In all fairness to these companies, we do not wish to list them here. Instead we would like to think that there was an email filter or an employee on vacation who did not process our message. The team was extremely disappointed that we did not receive a positive response.

At the end of project, we received this phenomenal letter from our adviser Norton Smith. Mr. Smith was a consulting engineer on Project Kaisei and designs collection devices. In his email he stated that his role on Kaisei was, unfortunately, more often one of "trouble shooting the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems that were habitually breaking down." Needless-to-say, the team cheered when they read his assessment of our product.


Bioplastics Council

EPA Issues Report on Effectiveness of Marine Trash Skimmers

Nextek Ltd

Nextek Ltd About Us

Nextek Ltd Contact Us

Nextek Ltd Services

Nextek Ltd Vision

NPE2009 Schedule at a Glance

Ocean Alternative Energy


Porex Corporate Info

Porex Locations

Porex Material Technology

Porex Product Info

Sand Bed Filter Support

SNAME 2009 Annual Meeting and Expo

SNAME The Society

SPI at a Glance

SPI Environment Policy

SPI Members

SPI Policy Statement on Degradable Plastics

SPI Policy Statement on Product Stewardship

SPI Resin Identification Code - Guide to Correct Use

The International Plastics Showcase

The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers

The Society of the Plastics Industry

TrashCat™ Systems Summary

United Marine International

UMI News

UMI Overview, Profile, and Affiliates

UMI Videos

UMI Worldwide Applications

Unmanned and Autonomous Ships of the Future

WeedCat™ Systems Summary

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