The ship began its sailing trip on May searching for ghost nets and consumer plastics that collect in what is believed to be 'the world's largest ocean dump', also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The vessel used GPS technology to track the trash.
According to local Hawaii News Now, the quantity of garbage was the largest to be ever collected in the Pacific ocean. Moreover, the mass of trash covers an area of about 618,000 sq miles (1.6 million sq km), about twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France.
In an attempt to better track the garbage, Ocean Voyages provided reusable GPS trackers to mariners over the last year, asking them to place the devices on the ghost nets they encountered. As a result, when the vessel began its journey, its crew was able to track the devices, collect the nets, the reusable tech and plastic found en route.
The GPS devices used costs about $1,600. The non-profit aspires to buy 150 more, so that seafarers can make use of them, as the 2020 cleanup is approaching.
Environmentalists also use the data from the devices to better understand how trash travels and accumulates.
Mary Crowley, founder of Ocean Voyages Institute, reported to Hawaii News Now
From our experience, where we would find one net, we would find more nets. The problem with plastic is it just lasts forever. So these nets continue killing marine life until they’re taken out of the ocean.
Crowley will take part in next year's cleanup mission that is planned to last for three months.
Concerning the trash collected, Crowley informed that they are to be re-purposed to make sure that they won't end back in the ocean. The vast majority of the 40 tons of plastics that landed in Hawaii will be delivered to H-Power, the Honolulu Program of Waste Energy Recovery, which converts garbage into electricity that is then sold to Hawaiian Electric and distributed to local consumers.