No Plastic Waste01 May 2023

Microplastix microplastics machine: Minderoo Foundation supports social enterprise, Microplastix, to engineer a new trommel that collections microplastics

Minderoo Foundation is pleased to have provided a $25,000 grant to Fremantle (Walyalup) social enterprise Microplastix, headed by Charlie Guilloteau, to engineer a new trommel machine that collects microplastics debris from sand along Western Australian waterways.

Minderoo sponsored Microplastix trommel
Minderoo sponsored Microplastix trommel. Photo Credit: Microplastix.

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest, most urgent threats facing our planet and our health. The costs to society from plastic pollution — including environmental clean-up, ecosystem degradation, shorter life expectancy and medical treatment — exceed US$100bn per year, according to research by the Minderoo Foundation1.

Progressive weathering and fragmentation of macroplastics (visible plastic waste) leads to smaller fragments; microplastics. Microplastics have been detected in almost every part of the environment, including drinking water. Microplastics (and nanoplastics) present growing areas of concern, such as leaching of chemical substances (known as additives) and the human health effects of particles fragmenting to a size small enough to pass through biological barriers.

The new trommel is already being used for microplastic removal along WA’s coastline, estuaries and rivers. The trommel will contribute to more accurate microplastic data collection and will build public awareness of the harmful risks of fossil-fuel-derived plastics.

Director of Minderoo’s No Plastic Waste Initiative, Dr Marcus Gover, said, “Minderoo Foundation is committed to eliminating the harms of plastics on people and planet. To address the global plastics crisis, change is required at every level – from hands-on community activities like beach clean-ups, to influencing the United Nations Global Plastics Treaty.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with a local business that is focussed on developing practical ways to tackle plastic pollution, especially considering Minderoo’s headquarters are in Perth (Boorloo).”

Head of Plastics and Human Health at Minderoo Foundation, Professor Sarah Dunlop, said, “Plastics’ harms extend far beyond the visible and well-recognised damages of beach litter. Getting people engaged on the harms of plastics to human health and the global environment by showcasing the trommel is a great way to begin this conversation.”

“The evidence available in the recently released Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health2 demonstrates unequivocally that these impacts are great and that they will increase in severity in the absence of urgent and effective intervention at a global scale.”

Charlie Guilloteau, Microplastix Managing Director, is grateful for the support of Minderoo Foundation to update the original trommel design and build this new product to collect microplastic debris from our beaches and rivers.

“The trommel has been professionally designed by Metis Design & Engineering and made by local Western Australian manufacturing partners.”

“The redesign improves performance, stability and durability of the trommel on sand and in salty environments.”

“These trommels are designed to support researchers, not-for-profits, environmental groups, local governments, companies, and communities tackle microplastic pollution, and ultimately shed a light on the microplastic pollution within our local communities. We encourage businesses, not-for-profits, and councils to get involved and sponsor the build of additional machines.”

  1. Merkl A & Charles D. 2022. The Price of Plastic Pollution: Social Costs and Corporate Liabilities, Minderoo Foundation.
  2. Landrigan, P. J., Raps, H., Cropper, M., Bald, C., Brunner, M., Canonizado, E. M., … Dunlop, S. 2023. The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health. Annals of Global Health, 89(1), 23. DOI:
Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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