Pixie, the marine drone that hunts for waste

Is called Pixie Drone and like a goblin of British folklore he will give a hard time to the waste and pollution of the seas, fishing 60 kilos of material for each mission. It’s not exactly lightning – it cruises at 3 km / h – but it has a long range (six hours) and is capable of collecting everything from plastic to organic, glass to paper to fabrics. It was unveiled by Findus in Venice, the chosen place where Pixie Drone will enter service. It is only the latest project of the frozen food company and part of the Nomad Foods Group which has chosen World Oceans Day on the one hand to unveil its new three-point manifesto called “Fish For Good for the future of the oceans” and, on the other, to reveal two new concrete projects.

The Fish For Good philosophy

Among the pillars of the company’s manifesto, which just this year celebrated its 60th anniversary in Italy and has been part of the British-American group since 2015, is the commitment to guarantee a responsible fishing (98% of fish raw materials today come from MSC certified sustainable fishing and Asc aquaculture) and minimize the impact on the planet and the environment. To date, 98% of product packaging is recyclable and for all cardboard boxes produced, Findus uses paper from sustainably managed forests, as per Pefc and Fsc certifications. But, in fact, the heart of Fish For Good is getting your hands dirty, fighting against the plastic that suffocates the oceans, irreversibly compromising their ecosystems. And develop simple and at the same time extremely effective devices to do their part. Pixie Drone responds to this need and is, among other things, one of the first examples of this genre in the world.

How Pixie Drone works unveiled in Venice

Pixie Drone, which we have seen at work atisland of the Certosa in the company of none other than Captain Findus, it works with one water depth of at least 30 centimeters, can be remotely controlled from a maximum distance of 500 meters and, thanks to a web app, its activity can be monitored. The work of this small waste-eating boat about one meter long is also facilitated by a video camera with a range of 300 meters. In fact it is an ideal tool for small areas of the sea – especially the marinas under concession – or lakes, however useful for recovering waste away from the accumulation points of the piers and banks. “Fish For Good comes from Findus’ very deep roots – he explains Nicola Pasciutomarketing manager fish Findus, a Green & Blue – it is not an attempt to follow trends. The company has always paid great attention to sustainability: at the time we were among the promoters of Msc.

On the contrary, there is the intention to implement actions to preserve the environment, from the fishery to agriculture. All the initiatives that the company has undertaken over the years, which are part of its DNA and which have merged into a strategic program that has brought together various issues. The environment is attacked by various factors, as far as the seas are concerned, especially plastic. Since 2017 we have directed our activity in the fishing sector, now collected under the Capitan Findus brand, towards an external certification that would guarantee us “. And the idea of ​​developing small fleets of these drones?” Nobody knows but what interests us is sowing seeds and raising awareness: the collaboration with Lifegate, which began in 2020, is strategic and given the results we have decided to update the devices with new technologies “.

The Trash Collec’Thor floating basket in Rimini

While the drone took off in the lagoon in Rimini, the “Trash Collec’Thor“, a large plastic-eating basket, an updated and enhanced version of the well-known Seabins, with a capacity of up to 100 kilos. In this case, this is the second stage of a journey embarked on last year with the campaign” A sea of ​​ideas for our waters “promoted by Coop in collaboration with LifeGate PlasticLess. Ten waste-eating Seabins were distributed along the Italian coasts: in less than a year the floating baskets that filter the water while retaining pollutants have collected 6,974 kg of waste dispersed at sea equal to the weight of over 464,940 half-liter bottles.

The one installed right on the Certosa island, also in the lagoon, collected 1,700 kilos of waste in 357 days of operation, with an average of almost 5 per day. “Trash Collec’Thor” can capture, using only the work of the currents, different types of floating waste such as plastic bottles, bags and butts. But it is also capable of filter hydrocarbons and microplastics from 3 mm in diameter upwards. Active non-stop, it works thanks to a robust industrial pump. The 100 kilos of waste are unloaded on the ground in a single emptying maneuver thanks to a winch that facilitates the lifting of the bin. The one installed in Rimini is one of the first in Italy after the launch on March 24th in France, Greece, Italy, Canada and the USA.

Findus’ commitment to sustainable fishing

Beyond the devices, it is evident that the fishing and supply methods play a fundamental role in safeguarding the oceans and their resources. As mentioned, Findus, in the first pillar of the Fish For Good manifesto, is committed to choosing sustainable Msc and Asc certified fishing and aquaculture and actively supporting projects to improve fishing chains in compliance with sustainability standards. A long-standing path that has led the company to now have almost all supplies (98%) from sustainable fishing certified with the aim of reaching 100% by the end of 2025. “After the introduction of the blue brand of sustainable fishing MSC in 2017, among the first companies in Italy – he comments Francesca Oppiaprogram director of the Marine Stewardship Council for Italy – in five years the company has achieved important milestones, passing from 75% to 98% of certified fish raw materials, also driving other players in the sector.

As a result of Findus’s choice, between 42% and 45% of the frozen fish retail market is now MSC certified. A choice increasingly in line with the requests of Italians who, as emerges from a Globescan research conducted in Italy and in other 22 countries in the world, express concern for the health of the oceans (93%) and buy (26%) or they are willing to (43%) sustainable fishery products. “On those certifications some inquiries have raised doubts although at the moment they constitute the highest standard that companies can espouse. On his own, Findus also adds a tool on its site – it’s called Captain’s Fish Finder – through which it is possible to know the fishing area of ​​the raw material for each product.

From recyclable packaging to the project against “ghost” fishing equipment

The second point of the Fish For Good philosophy is precisely the commitment to concrete initiatives. Like those just launched or like the adhesion of Nomad Foods, Findus’ parent company, to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, the largest multi-sector initiative in the world, to find solutions to the plight of lost, abandoned or thrown overboard fishing gear (aka “ghost gear”) around the world. Just think that 70% of plastic waste – explains the annual report of the GGGI – it comes from tools lost at sea, on all networks. In 2021 the group completed a first phase of assessing its suppliers regarding the loss of equipment at sea, verifying that 99% of its fish products come from sources with a medium-low risk. Now it will continue to support the organization along its supply chain to eliminate the danger even in that small percentage of suppliers who still do not care to limit the consequences of their fishing activity as much as possible.

The manifesto closes with the commitment to market only recyclable packaging (almost all, 98%) with the commitment that for all the cardboard boxes produced, paper from sustainably managed forests is used, as per Pefc and Fsc certifications. Under the front of the emissionsin 2020 Nomad Foods finally significantly reduced carbon emissions per tonne of finished product by over 20% and emissions in absolute terms by 14%, despite production volumes having increased considerably due to the Covid 19 pandemic. For 2025, the goal is a 45% reduction in emissions per tonne of finished product.

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