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The Port of Antwerp has implemented the innovative plastic vacuum ‘Nul-O-Plastic’ to eliminate the historical pollution caused by plastic pellets in the Galgeschoor nature reserve. The vacuum cleaner was first used for World Clean-up Day on 19 September and can remove tiny plastic granules and scraps without damaging the natural environment. The machine is an addition to existing activities in the Port of Antwerp which focus on removing plastic pellets that end up in the natural world. 

The Nul-O-Plastic from Envisan, part of the Jan De Nul Group, was the winning design of the Galgeschoor Plastic Challenge at the end of 2019. With this innovative competition, Port of Antwerp put a call out for new cleaning techniques for small plastic pellets that have built up over the years in the Galgeschoor nature reserve and that cannot be cleaned up by hand. The special vacuum cleaner must be able to clean up this hard to access, tidal area while having a minimal impact on flora and fauna. 

By focusing on the approach to historical pollution, the Nul-O-Plastic is the perfect addition to the existing clean-up and prevention activities that are organised in the port within the context of Operation Clean Sweep. With this initiative, the Port of Antwerp, the industrial companies, the logistics players and the transport sector have all joined hands to prevent plastic pellets ending up in our environment. In this context, a comprehensive action plan was launched last year, encompassing a range of concrete actions and measures.