NOV - 2018
The founders Karsten, Georg and Moritz went for a vacation to Vietnam to celebrate Karsten’s graduation from law-school. Their apartment was facing the Mekong River and the three friends witnessed the plastic pollution of the river. Whenever they looked at the water, they could see plastic flowing down the river and being transported to the oceans.
APR - 2019
FOUNDING PLASTIC FISCHER
Back in Germany, the founders did some research on the internet but couldn’t find any company that was focussing on rivers to stop ocean plastic. They built a waterwheel to collect plastic with the natural flow of the river and tested it successfully in a small river in Cologne. Motivated by this success, they decided to found Plastic Fischer - the first company in the world to tackle River Plastic.
JUN - 2019
MOVING TO INDONESIA
2 months after founding the company, Karsten and Moritz moved to Indonesia to test if the technology would also work in heavily polluted rivers. It didn’t. In dry season, the flow of the river wouldn’t be sufficient to power the waterwheel and collect the collected plastic. We had to reconsider the technology.
JUL - 2019
INVENTION OF THE TRASHBOOM
Karsten and Moritz lived in Bandung and worked in one of the world’s most polluted rivers in the world: The Citarum. The Indonesian Army is in charge of cleaning this river and they supported our efforts from the beginning until today. We wanted to make their job more efficient and came up with the idea to develop a swimming barrier that would stop the vast majority of River Plastic around the clock.
JUL - 2019
PROOF OF CONCEPT
After several development iterations, we finally came up with the TrashBoom design that is widely recognized by today. The idea was to build a low-tech solution from locally available materials at low-cost. The 3L Initiative™ was born - and the TrashBoom was representing it.
SEP - 2019
We reached out to the guy who created a viral video about the plastic pollution of the Citarum. He was living in Bali and we decided to deploy a TrashBoom system on the island. It was a great national success and even the World Economic Forum was reporting about us.Many organizations such as Sungai Watch, Seven Clean Seas and even The Ocean Cleanup are now working with very similar technologies to tackle marine plastic pollution in rivers. A great result of Plastic Fischer’s invention.
COVID & INVENTION OF THE BUSINESS MODEL
In early 2020, the Covid Outbreak forced Karsten and Moritz to leave Indonesia.Our months of on-the-ground experience helped us to get a deep understanding of rivers, River Plastic and the complexity of the problem.We still hadn’t figured out how to finance the collection of mainly non-recyclable plastic so we invented “Plastic Fischer Credits”. It was meant to be an analogous to Carbon Credits and represented 1 ton of plastic that we collect and process.
Q1 - 2021
HIRING THE CORE TEAM - REMOTELY
As Covid was still preventing us from being back at a polluted river personally, we decided to hire someone remotely who had the opportunity to manufacture a TrashBoom and deploy it.Harish and Rishabh were the first people to work for Plastic Fischer in India and now are the Directors of our Indian entity.In addition, Aviel joined the team and brings +10 years of experience as Naval Engineer at the Navy to the team. He is now working with Karsten from Cologne in Germany and builds the core-team, together with Harish and Rishabh.
Q3 - 2021
FIRST COMMERCIAL CUSTOMER & 2021 IMPACT
We won our first commercial customer with KNIPEX, which extended their supported several times since we fulfilled the initial contract. Additionally to operating in Bangalore and Varanasi in India, we also picked up our work in Bandung, Indonesia again.By the end of 2021, we deployed 14 TrashBooms, collected and managed 32 tons of River Plastic and created +30 local jobs in India and Indonesia.
Q1 - 2022
ALLIANZ & WEF
In 2022, we kept expanding and signed a multi-year contract with Allianz, who decided to finance the entire operations in Trivandrum, India.We were also invited by UpLink, the innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, to attend the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, where Karsten represented Plastic Fischer as “Top Innovator” in the field of Plastic Pollution Prevention.
Q2 - 2022
100 TONS OF RIVER PLASTIC COLLECTED
Crossing the milestone of 100 tons of River Plastic collected, processed and verified was a big thing for us! Since then, we really picked up speed and scaled up. River Plastic - in our definition - is the dry weight of non-recyclable material that we removed directly out of the river or from the river bank. Learn More about it more under River Plastic.
Q4 - 2022
INCREASING IMPACT x10
By the end of 2022, we had deployed 29 TrashBooms, prevented more than 400 tons of River Plastic from entering the oceans and created +70 jobs for people in India and Indonesia. With this, we increased our environmental impact by more than 10 times.
Q1 - 2023
UN 2023 WATER CONFERENCE IN NYC
Karsten was invited by UpLink & World Economic Forum to New York City to attend the UN 2023 Water Conference. A historical event that hasn’t happened for 46 years until then.
Q4 - 2023
IMPACT OF 2023
By December 2023, Plastic Fischer collected and processed 1200 tons of river plastic. This weight corresponds to around 30 Airbus A320 airplanes! These are mainly bags, packaging materials and polystyrene that we have fisched out of rivers in India and Indonesia. We were also able to offer 88 local people permanent employment and thus a regular income.