Recycled Plastic Island: Can It Clean Up Plastic Pollution In Our Oceans?

Via on Jul 23, 2010

We’ve heard a lot about plastic pollution in our oceans. Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

From the Plastic Pollution Coalition:

Patches of plastic pollution cover millions of square miles of ocean in the North Pacific and in the North Atlantic.  Scientists expect to find similar accumulation areas in the remaining oceanic gyres. There is no known way to clean up the plastic pollution in the oceans: the plastic particles are very small and circulate throughout the entire water column. The amount of plastic pollution in the oceans is expanding at a catastrophic rate.

But what if there was a way to clean it up? Well, those clever folks from the Netherlands have an idea. WHIM architecture firm, based in the Netherlands, is conducting the research and design of a completely recycled island. The project was created to look at a way to turn the floating plastic into urban habitats.

Sure, we’ve made a couple boats from the plastic captured in the ocean, the most well-know being the JUNKraft — made up of 15,000 plastic bottles — and the Plastiki — made up of 12,500 plastic bottles. But an island?

While the notion of building an island is nothing new (ahem, Dubai), reusing a ton of the plastic that is polluting our oceans is rather appealing.

From RecycledIsland.com

Recycled island is a research project on the potential of realizing a habitable floating island in the Pacific Ocean made from all the plastic waste that is momentarily floating around in the ocean.

The proposal has three main aims; Cleaning our oceans from a gigantic amount of plastic waste; Creating new land; And constructing a sustainable habitat. Recycled island seeks the possibilities to recycle the plastic waste on the spot and to recycle it into a floating entity. The constructive and marine technical aspects take part in the project of creating a sea worthy island.

So what do you think, would you live on a massive recycled island? With the amount of plastic growing at a mind-blowing rate in our oceans, it’s about time we come up with an innovate and smart solution. Maybe it’s a recycled island. Hey, it’s an idea.

But even if we build this island, plastic pollution will keep piling up. So be aware, think about your consumption and make it so we don’t have to make a dozen recycled plastic islands in the middle of our ocean.

PHOTOS courtesy WHIM Architecture

Thanks to Grist for the tip!

About Emily Nuchols

An eco warrior obsessed with traveling and promoting conservation, Emily is the co-founder of Under Solen Media and the team's go-to girl for everything non-profit and environment related. Armed with a B.A in Environmental Journalism from Western Washington University, she has spent the last few years on the frontlines of conservation efforts, working to save Pacific Northwest wild salmon and restore flee-flowing rivers. When she’s not talking or writing about the environment, she’s out exploring it, and is known to seek out places where she can get in a good morning yoga session or trail run.

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8 Responses to “Recycled Plastic Island: Can It Clean Up Plastic Pollution In Our Oceans?”

  1. Dorothy says:

    This reminds me of Kiunga Marine National Reserve. The currents there wash in thousands of flip flops from around the world, turning the beach into a disaster site that nesting and hatching turtles navigate with extreme difficulty.

    A local biologist and health worker established the UniquEco brand as a way for local residents to earn money cleaning up the beaches. Women, men and teenagers collect tons of flip flops and creatively transform them into sculptures, jewelry and small gift items for vital fair trade wages.

    This transformational project vibrantly represents the goal of fair trade: to create prosperous endeavors for people worldwide that advance the health of the Earth while increasing awareness and positive action.

    Check out these recycled flip flop bracelets at http://planetonegifts.com/uniqueco-recycled-flip-

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  4. Richart Sowa says:

    Hi, Richart sowa here, I find it amazing that you know about the plastic bottle raft and plastiki but seem to know nothing about the floating plastic bottle Island concept which I have been working and Living ON since 1997 in Mexico. here is a website dedicated to making land on the ocean. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scottmader/gr

  5. Richart Sowa says:

    Hi, Richart sowa here, I find it amazing that you know about the plastic bottle raft and plastiki but seem to know nothing about the floating plastic bottle Island concept which I have been working and Living ON since 1997 in Mexico. here is a website dedicated to making land on the ocean. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scottmader/gr….

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  7. [...] have known that plastic pollution in the ocean is a big and growing problem since 1972 when a groundbreaking study was published in [...]

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