Mauro Nardocci: SEADS Turns Ocean Plastic Into Wealth by Collecting and Recycling Waste in Rivers

August 9, 2022

SEADS turns Ocean Plastic into Wealth by collecting and recycling Waste in Rivers.
PROBLEM: Every year 10 million tons of plastic reach the Ocean killing millions of fish, sea mammals and birds.

This quantity is expected to quadruple by 2050. Oceans produce 50% of global oxygen and absorb 25% of global CO2.

They represent a primary livelihood source for about 3 billion people. 70-80% of this plastic comes from rivers and can therefore be stopped and reinjected into our circular system.

SOLUTION: The SEADS Blue Barriers are an award-winning solution that collects 100% of plastic waste in rivers, with no impact on river life or boat navigation.

Tell us about yourself?

As a Leader with 15 years board experience, international Leadership Coach and passionate about Ocean Protection, Mauro founded SEADS Sea Defence Solutions to collect riverine waste and transform it into a resource for the local communities.

During his corporate career, Mauro led teams across 4 continents to breakthrough levels of performance.

From introducing Italian pasta to China, to leading the company global transformation towards a more agile way of working, Mauro has consistently been a pioneer, willing to challenge the status quo to achieve unprecedented results.

With an authentic and inspiring leadership style, he managed businesses as large as 1 billion dollar and nurtured talents up to VP level.

In 2018, Mauro decided to launch High Performance Leadership Ltd, an executive and leadership development firm that has helped hundreds of Leaders across 3 continents to elevate their performance by leveraging their strengths, values and purpose.

Mauro is also the co-founder and CMO of SEADS Sea Defence Solutions, a London based start up focused on addressing Ocean plastic pollution by collecting waste in rivers and directing it towards recycling, protecting the environment and improving the quality of life of the local communities.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Dream Big, Believe, Focus, Act. Repeat.

What problem does your business solve?

About 10 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans every year. The damage, such as the disappearance of marine species and the acidification of the waters, is colossal: a 2019 MarinePollutionbulletin estimates it at $2.5 trillion annually.

The UK is a major contributor to this crisis, generating more plastic waste per person than any other country except the USA. The UK generates 5.2 million tons of plastic waste per year and a lot ends up in waterways as rivers are the main source of Ocean Plastic pollution.

Currently, only 14% of English rivers meet good ecological status and 92% of UK adults are concerned about Plastic Pollution. The UK invested £54m in plastic innovation in the past seven years.

However, the path to finding alternative materials/processes to avoid plastic entering our waterways is long. It’s necessary to find immediate solutions to collect plastic waste from rivers.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Fabio Dalmonte, Managing Director of SEADS, and I worked together in Barilla in the past. He came up with the idea of the Blue Barriers after he left the company, while he was working on a research project on waste management in Jakarta, Indonesia.

He noted the huge amount of debris that floated on the Ciliwung River, which flows through the Indonesian capital.

“All the waste that ends up in the sea, ruins the beaches, damages the environment, affects tourism and causes serious problems to local communities.

What is your magic sauce?

We look forward. We are not satisfied with having patented the most effective solution on the market for waste collection in rivers.

We are also working to offer access to an innovative SAP marketplace to sell the collected waste as Marine Litter, generating revenues that cover the cost of waste management (

This makes the system self-funding, offering a Blueprint to turn Ocean Plastic into Wealth. The benefits are holistic: cities get improved recycling rates, less waste ends up in landfills or the environment, and more jobs are created.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

The vision is to complete about 40 installations over the next 5 years, generating an overall business of almost $10 million, stopping about 100.000 tons of plastic from entering the Ocean and creating about 400 jobs.

On top of that, we expect to protect hundreds more jobs in tourism and fisheries alone around the world, while saving the lives of about 9000 sea turtles, dolphins and other sea mammals and sea birds per year.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

COVID stopped every project we had ongoing in 2020. For about 2 years Public Administrations have been fully defocused from Environmental Protection.

We used that time to deepen our understanding of their needs, understand their concerns about getting to deal with even more waste than they have now, and to design a circular solution that can become the Blueprint to turn Ocean Plastic into wealth for local communities around the world.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We want individuals, companies and organizations that share our same vision for a plastic free Ocean to reach out and offer to help.

This generational plague is too big for anyone to solve it alone. Together, we got a shot to transform it into an opportunity for radical change where both the environment and the local communities benefit together.

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