Ocean Plastic Pollution Explained

The Ocean Cleanup

I was invited by The Ocean Cleanup to help with creating a lengthy 2D explainer animation that summarizes the most recent findings around ocean plastic pollution to date. And what a blessing to build a new relationship and collaborate with a client that does such an amazing job for all of us and our planet. So great to be a part of that!


This project was brought to life through close collaboration. We did many brainstorms, video calls and tweaked our Miro board endlessly. This project really started with the story first. The foundation and most important facts were already gathered and placed into a chronological timeline on a Miro board. Together we wrote the first version of the script based on that order of facts. I visualized and sketched out the storyboard, which we have revised to perfection together. The route a plastic bottle cap travels from production all the way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch served as our through line for the entire story.


The branding of The Ocean Cleanup relies very much on a minimalist approach to design. Therefore, this visual style really allows for more for animation and more lengthy content. Which is great, since they have so many interesting facts to share with the world about plastic pollution.


To be able to create this 7 minute long animation within a short period of time, from concept to final deliverable, I created an illustration system existing out of plastic waste. With the use of 2D physics and dynamics in After Effects using Newton3 and some expressions and presets for making objects float in water, we were able to speed up our workflow quite a bit and pay extra attention to the little details.

Creative direction, design, animation
Richard Beerens

Concept development in collaboration with
Valentina Marinelic (The Ocean Cleanup)

Copy writing
The Ocean Cleanup

Additional animation
Nacho Darras

Sound design

The Ocean Cleanup

© Richard Beerens Designs