About Marine Debris

About MDWith 8 million tons of plastic entering the ocean every year marine debris has become one of the major environmental issues worldwide. Since the world's population, plastic production and consumption are growing exponentially there is no end in sight regarding the ever increasing amount of waste ending up in the environment and making its way into the ocean - about 75% of it being plastics. The piles of rubbish we find on beaches is only the tip of the ice/plastic-berg. It is estimated that by 2050 by weight we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean.

Since the invention of plastic in the 1950s this durable and never decomposing material has not only taken over our lives, but is also taking over our environment. Some effects such as the risk of entanglement and ingestion for wildlife, the decrease of economic value from polluted beaches in touristic areas or the hazard for human health and safety are well documented. But plastic breaks up into ever smaller pieces over time. We have just begun to understand the impacts of those microplastics and the toxins attached to them on entire ecosystems and humans. Whilst a lot of research is needed, we can assume that due to the sheer scale of the problem serious long term consequences could affect our way of life as it is already affecting the health of our oceans.

Check out our fact sheets and our video about marine debris impacts to learn more.

Council Trials Drain Buddies

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Last month Eurobodalla Council in NSW commenced trials on 10 stormwater drains in the Bateman’s Bay area by installing Drain Buddies, which were developed by Queensland Company, Cleanwater Group. These heavy duty baskets catch rubbish or organic matter and allow excess water to flow through. Any litter left on nearby roads, paths and gutters will be washed into the baskets and held there, effectively preventing them from flowing into our waterways, and ultimately the ocean.

"We want to know what items we are catching so we can stop the litter altogether," says Bernadette Davis, the Council's Environmental Education Officer. "Already we're seeing plastic ice cream spoons, straws, cigarette butts and plastic packaging catch in the Drain Buddies - things that are easily windblown and/or carried along in heavy rain. Because we're recording the data, this is an opportunity to make people aware of what types of litter end up in our estuaries and oceans."

The baskets will be regularly monitored, emptied and the data recorded into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database.

"The best option is to say 'no' to single-use items, question if you really need it. If it's unavoidable, put it in the bin when you've finished with it, or in the recycling bin if it can be recycled," Ms. Davis said.

For more information visit www.esc.nsw.gov.au.


Waste-free Fishing Bait Product

Burley Brick

There’s been a new innovation in fishing bait that doesn’t involve plastic bags! The ‘Burley Brick’ is a new product designed in Western Australia by Mendolia Seafoods in collaboration with Recfishwest.

It’s a plastic-free bait system designed to be used by recreational fishers as bait, burley or to put straight into lobster/cray bait boxes. CEO of Recfishwest, Dr. Andrew Rowland, states “the burley brick is an ideal product for fishing for demersal species where a constant burley trail is required”. 


Container Refunds to Tangaroa Blue!

Facebook tile with scheme IDAs you may be aware, the Container Refund Scheme is now in effect in Queensland and TBF is accepting your donations.

There are several methods of turning in recyclables:  Reverse Vending Machines (RVM’s), Drop off points, Over-the-counter depots and Commercial depots (for very large amounts).

If you are turning in bottles to benefit TBF, you must quote our scheme ID: C10033976.  

For locations and more information, visit: www.containersforchange.com.au.

AMDI App User Video

With the launch of the new Australian Marine Debris Initiative data collection app (available on both Android and Apple), we've just created a short how-to-video to help you navigate your way through the data collection process! If you have any questions about the app just send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A big thanks to Jarrod & Craig from Streamline Media for producing our video, and Brett from We-Refill for the voiceover along with funding from the Morris Family Foundation to help produce the video.

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Did you know?

Tangaroa is one of the great gods in Maori and Polynesian mythology, the God of the Ocean. One of his laws is "Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki", which means "if you look after me, I'll look after you". This guideline highlights the importance of our marine and coastal environment and encourages everyone to protect our oceans. Tangaroa Blue pays respect to the Traditional Owners on the land that we work and the Maori and Polynesian cultures from where our name originates from.

Since 2004 Tangaroa Blue volunteers and partners have been hard at work cleaning our beaches!

  • Number of clean-up sites: 2,985
  • Number of volunteers: 129,915
  • Number of tonnes removed: 1,099 tonnes
  • Number of items removed: 12,777,212 items
  • Number of volunteer hours: 371,387 hours
  • Number of clean-ups: 14,369