Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Boat Made of Trash ~ Plastiki


The Harrowing Ocean Crossing of a Boat Made of Trash, as Chronicled in Plastiki

plastiki boat construction
luca babini photo

The boat—a 60-foot catamaran—was designed and built by British environmentalist David de Rothschild.

Recycled PET bottles offered a strong, buoyant, material for the hull. The mast was constructed from a recycled aluminum irrigation pipe. Even the sail—woven from recycled PET—was an example of repurposed trash.

The concept seemed sound, but as the six-person crew boarded the ship in San Fransisco on March 20, 2010, Plastiki remained relatively untested. ...more

And much, much more, with photos and video:

Plastiki from Glenn McElhose on Vimeo.

We've been following the progress of the Plastiki for over a year now. In case you've forgotten, it's the pet project of eco-adventurer David de Rothschild and it's a huge boat made from recycled plastic bottles. The vessel has been under construction and late last week, the crew finally unveiled it in the San Francisco Bay. This is the start point for what will be an 11,000 mile trek to Sydney, highlighting the problem of plastic as both a pollutant and design issue.

Made from 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles, the recycled srPET is a strong, bouyant material. The mast is made from reclaimed aluminum irrigation pipe and the sail is hand-made from reycled PET as well. To top it off, the secondary bonding is reinforced using a newly developed organic glue made from cashew nuts and sugar cane. It's a very green boat, and its credentials don't stop with the construction.

plastiki boat photo
Image via Plastiki

The Plastiki is also an off-grid vessel, relying primarily on renewable energy systems including from solar panels, wind and trailing propeller turbines, and bicycle generators, and utilizing a urine-to-water recovery and rain water catchment system for fresh water sources. Finally, it comes complete with a hydroponic rotating cylinder garden.

WATCH VIDEO: Blue August: Plastic is Forever

Right now, the crew is working on final preparations for their sail across the Pacific ocean. The trip will highlight not only all the plastic in our oceans, but also that waste - especially plastic waste - is a fundamental design flaw and we have to rethink waste as a resource.

Here's de Rothschild talking to TreeHugger's Graham Hill about how the ship is made.

Plastiki from Glenn McElhose on Vimeo.

You can buy a flat-pack kit to build a model of the plastic bottle boat!

When I saw this tweet from @Plastiki this afternoon, "We've released the Plastiki toy [so proud!] and @joshspear has put it front page", I thought surely they haven't built a miniature version of the complex boat famously built out of recycled plastic bottles! How the heck have they done that? As we wait for David De Rothschild and his crew to embark on their high seas adventure to the Gyre, otherwise known as the Pacific Garbage Patch, they have created something to keep us from twiddling our thumbs...


Flat packed Kit
Calling all kids, model making enthusiasts, and those jealous of David's imminent adventure! The Plastiki toy comes in a suitably sustainable form, not lots of tiny little bits of plastic, but rather a flat packed cardboard kit that you can assemble yourselves to put pride of place on your mantle piece, on your bookshelf or anywhere that takes your fancy, but probably not in your bath, as Josh Spear suggested!

FSC Approved
The Plastiki team tell us that their new toy is "manufactured and designed by Jamily in Manchester UK. The model is made from FSC approved card and printed locally using sustainable vegetable inks. Every stage of the manufacturing process was designed to produce minimal waste and efficient use of energy."

50% Profits to Sculpt The Future Foundation
You can buy one from the online Plastiki shop. It's being sold at the rather hefty price of £18.00, but we love the fact that 50% of profits will be donated to the Sculpt The Future Foundation which promotes "positive environmental change towards global sustainability by supporting creative, innovative and sustainable action."


More on Plastiki Expedition
David de Rothschild Sets Sail on Plastic Ship
David de Rothschild Shows Graham Hill Ways to Turn Plastic From ...
Sailing For Cause: Marine 'Odd-Ventures'
David de Rothschild and The Real Cost of Living (Video)
The TH Interview: David de Rothschild - Part 1
The TH Interview: David de Rothschild - Part 2



plastic bottles, ocean crossing, Lake Atitlan, PET bottles, boat, trash, recycle,

I want to try this at Lake Atitlan!

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