Boat made from plastics makes 9,000-mile trip to encourage recycling

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From Green Right Now Reports

David de Rothschild. Image:

Thinking about sailing from California to Australia? A British-led crew recently did just that . . . and made a comment or two about waste disposal and recycling in the process.

The Plastiki – a 60-foot catamaran — was built almost entirely with recycled materials. It was kept afloat on its four-month, 9,000-mile voyage by 12,500 reclaimed soda bottles built into the hull. The 12-ton boat was constructed with a new glue made from cashews and sugar.

Environmentalist David de Rothschild recruited a team of engineers and marine architects to help design and complete the vessel. The mast was made from an old aluminum water pipe, while the sail was created from more recycled plastic. Solar panels, a wind turbine and bicycle generators provided electricity for the six crew members.

The two-liter soda bottles used in the boat were reclaimed from garbage collections in San Francisco where it was built. Each was filled with CO2 under pressure and sealed to provide added strength.

The boat’s name was inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s famous 1947 Pacific crossing in The Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood replica of an Inca raft. Heyerdahl’s grandson, Olav, is a member of the Plastiki crew.

De Rothschild says he wanted to focus public attention on “dumb use of plastic” in food and drink packaging, and the problem of discarded bags and bottles littering the oceans. On its journey, the Plastiki sailed through a floating carpet of rubbish known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an estimated 100 million tons of plastic covering an area twice the size of France.

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