Build a microplastics trawl

Collecting microplastics in your local environment can be a really valuable way to engage and educate people in how prolific microplastics are in our local waters. 5 Gyres ambassador Dr. Max Liberion has produced an open-source guide to building a low budget, high impact trawl using common items.

There are 5.25 trillion pieces of ocean plastic debris. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface.



  • Easy to follow build guide
  • Cheaper than paying for a trawl to be built
  • Does not require specialist materials or skills to build or use
  • There is also an online guide on how to analyse your microplastics


  • Not suitable for collecting samples for use in large-scale studies as not up to current scientific standard, but great for building local engagement and understanding
  • Needs some materials and investment in time to get started

Making a difference

5 Gyres have run 19 of their own citizen science expeditions.

There are hundreds of other ways to solve plastic pollution

David Howells