Due to financial difficulties, Sydney Steenland has lived on a boat with her family since she was a child. That process led her to see a huge amount of plastic waste in the ocean and figure out how to turn it into “treasure”.
Sydney Steenland has become a young face breaking barriers and creating change with her unique ideas. Her story is not only surprising, but also a huge inspiration.
Sharing with the media, Sydney Steenland said, she has lived on the boat with her family since she was a child. The reason her family moved on the boat initially was because they had financial difficulties. However, this unique lifestyle has given Sydney the opportunity to see so many places in the world that most children can only dream of.
“Being on the boat, we can always easily move to many places, witness firsthand the wonderful places, exquisite nature,” said the 16-year-old girl excitedly. “However, I also see some pretty horrible scenes, that is plastic waste is everywhere. No matter where we go, in which country, the financial state of the region is like that. Anyway, there is always plastic that is thrown indiscriminately in every environment.”
Sydney Steenland and her father, Carlos Steenland, pose with their boat in Pahang, Malaysia.Photo: Wen Chen
Concern about 14 million tons of plastic waste in the ocean
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, at least 14 million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans each year. Plastic debris is the most common type of marine litter, accounting for 80% of the total worldwide.
Seeing the level of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, Sydney and her family decided to set up a social enterprise project “The Sea Monkey Project” to recycle discarded plastics and turn them into souvenirs. concept.
Start taking action
“Are you caring about world issues, whether it’s poverty, climate change, plastic pollution, or whatever? When you want to start changing something, don’t wait for people “Otherwise, you have to take action yourself. It can be anything, no matter how big or small,” Sydney told Scenes.
With that in mind, Sydney and her family founded The Sea Monkey Project when she was 11 years old and named the project after their family boat.
“The name ‘The Sea Monkeys’ originates from when my brother and I were very young. We were like little monkeys climbing on boats, roaming the sea,” she said.
To date, the project has completed recycling more than 22,500 products and has organized nearly 10,000 workshops to raise awareness.
The plastic recycling project is carried out using devices that are manufactured and distributed by the family. They built the machine thanks to open source designs by a Dutch industrial designer named Dave Hakkens. . Sydney explains: “We took his brilliant idea to the test in our device. After many mistakes and corrections, everyone ended up creating their own machines. .”
The Sea Monkey Project recycles plastic waste and turns them into everyday objects.Photo: Wen Chen
The machine has three separate parts; a shredder to break large blocks of plastic into smaller pieces, a machine that melts the pieces of plastic to produce molten plastic, and an injector to inject the molten plastic into the molds.
She said: “We often spend time going around collecting plastic waste that is littered everywhere. Then we will turn it into items that people can use in their daily lives. , to go to school or use in their kitchen.”
Up to now, Sydney’s family has up to 26 facilities scattered across the country, the head office of the project is still located in Malaysia. But since 2018, the project also has 57 recycling machines in 15 other countries around the world.
“We provide employment opportunities to disadvantaged communities around the world, such as refugee groups, and also organize educational workshops to raise awareness,” he said. Sydney’s father, Carlos Steenland said.
The Sea Monkey Project cooperates with The Body Shop to raise awareness of environmental protection.Photo: Wen Chen
Workshops have always been an indispensable focus of The Sea Monkey Project. Sydney herself presented in several sessions. “I regularly share and explain the recycling process and encourage people to make their own recycled products using our machines,” she says. “I also travel to different countries to talk about plastic pollution in regions, in the hope that it will inspire people. A little inspiration can make a difference in the community. each person’s coin.”
Sydney herself is also motivated by her own desire to “rescue the ocean”, which has become a part of her family’s life.
“I believe that the earth is currently in a pretty bad state in all aspects. More or less, around us, some changes are gradually appearing in a more positive direction. If everyone If everyone can make a small contribution to the process of reducing environmental pollution, the final solution will be found soon,” she concluded.
*According to Euronews