Joe Rogan – JRE Episode #1402 – Boyan Slat – founder of The Ocean Cleanup project

“From trash to treasure.” – Boyan Slat

-Boyan Slat – founder of Ocean cleanup project to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Joe Rogan Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Courtesy of – Joe Rogan Boyan Slat Ocean Cleanup Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Plastic Beach - 1402 Boyan Slat Joe Rogan
Beach polluted with trash.

-Update on device: Had some difficulties but now finally having success with machine. Problem was the system was moving at same speed as plastic.

-Great Pacific Garbage patch, (discovered 20 years ago) between LA and Hawaii. Lots of plastic. 100 million kilos of plastic in ocean. Twice the size of Texas. First have to concentrate the plastic, create an artificial coastline for plastic to accumulate.

-Last week (December 2019), first 2 shipping containers of captured plastic were brought home! Goal is to capture half the plastic in ocean in next 5 years.

-Next step – system 2 bigger version. Minimize amount of vessels needed. Make products out of the plastic, that will retain their value. Go to website and can spend $50 to get first item produced from the plastic caught.

-Waves and sun break down big pieces into micro pieces of plastic. Thankfully, 92% of plastic has not broken down into micro plastic, yet.

-One great surprise of the system: most of the micro plastic is being picked up by system.

**On source of plastic in ocean: Central America, Southeast asia – countries that are still developing. Rich enough to consume lots of plastic but don’t have infrastructure to deal with, recycle their trash. In many cases, people literally drive to bridge and dump trash into river.

-100,000 rivers. Just 1% of rivers responsible for 80% of trash in ocean. (Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur). The Interceptor trap made for rivers. Joe Rogan, “Will the Interceptor trap fish and animals?” Boyan, responds – no they can easily swim around and beneath the Interceptor.

**On life: Boyan doesn’t have much free time. Past year not a single day off, 9am – 9pm everyday. “It’s very hard to enjoy success because there is so much work ahead.”

-Came up with idea at 16, founded organization at 18.

-Joe Rogan: Is this what you want to do the rest of your life? Boyan Slat: No, it’s kind of a starter problem.

-Boyan thinks of ideas as being quite dangerous. He needs lazor sharp focus right now. Ideas spread like viruses and he’ll lose focus. Keeps a booklet of other ideas he’ll come back to later on.

**Joe and Boyan talk about air pollution. Building sized vacuum cleaners for carbon in some Asian cities. Joe suggests – making diamonds from carbon caught in the air (both carbon based) Boyan: “From trash to treasure.”

**Boyan on people: Thinks main challenge this century is to decouple human progress with planet destruction. Need innovation and collaboration.

-He thinks protesting is not very productive. “I’d rather spend my time building something, using energy in a positive direction.”

-Boyan: “Couldn’t imagine having a normal job, just doing something you’re not passionate about.” Joe: for a lot of people that’s their existence.

-Boyan: It’s not really humans fault. Human nature and human behavior. We’ve had to adapt really really fast in a very short amount of time – Industrial revolution, technology, computers, phones.

-The biggest essence you have is your time. 80,000 hours. Can use for anything. People have a lot more potential than what they do, if they just realize how valuable their time is. Use your brain and time directly on something that matters.

-How can people help? – support through donation and join the queue for the products made from plastic pulled from ocean.

-0 sum game bias (Tulsi Gabbard also refers to) – Boyan refers to BS thought: “you shouldn’t worry about the plastic…its just a distraction, we should worry about climate change.” Joe: That’s bullshit, should you not clean your dishes because your carpet is dirty?

-Joe: Nick Bostrom freaked me out man, on high probability of life being a simulation.


**Side discussion: Apple is really close to augmented reality glasses. Link. Joe: “We’re like 50 years away from literally being in the Matrix.” (1:09:45)

-Joe: Instagram is dabbling with removing likes. That “like” button is one of the strangest things, like a drug. People got addicted to trying to getting likes. Boyan: “And it’s all making use of the flaws of our human nature.

-Joe: Girl embedded a Tesla key into her body, so she never has to carry her key.

-“Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world” – quote by Marshall McLuhan. Boyan and Joe highly recommend his book: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man

-Book Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind– tech enslaving us – less nutritious, porous way of living.


-Boyan and Joe watch Dubai time lapse video. Joe: “Oh my god this is insane, oh my god this is amazing!” Las Vegas on steroids: 2 min video


-World’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa. Joe: “Just the height of that thing makes my god damn palms sweat.” View from top (3 min video):


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