DIY Sustainability The Great Outdoors 

The Plastiki Expedition


With the goal of captivating, inspiring and activating tomorrow’s thinkers to take positive action towards saving our planet from the accumulation of waste products, David de Rothschild, a 31-year-old English banking heir and environmental daredevil along with his team of hand picked scientists are on a mission, to address the issue of sustainability with the creation of Plastiki. An all around environmentally friendly masterpiece, the Plastiki is a 60-foot catamaran floating on approximately 12,000 reclaimed whole plastic bottles which have been highly pressurized. The masts are made out of reclaimed aluminum irrigation pipes, while the ropes are also made from recycled plastics.

solar panels on plastiki

Power, is provided by a small array of solar panels and windmills as shown above. The boat will even contain a small organic farm with fertilizer coming from, well the crew member’s natural ‘leavings’. The plan is to take Plastiki 11,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Sydney in the Spring of 2010 on an anticipated 4 month journey (see route here)

Major challenges of naval design have not only been to ensure that the boat performs well, but also to address the needs of the people on board for the extended journey. The interior cabin has been constructed using self-reinforcing polyethylene terephthalate (srPET), which is essentially ground up plastics melted down It’s then remade into fabric and foam, similar to carbon fiber (but instead it can be melted down and remade into material again and again). Equipped with sleeping, working, and cooking (see below) spaces on board, the six member crew is expected to sail comfortably while at sea.

plastiki kitchen

It’s hard to say whether or not the Plastiki can withstand the harsh climates during its journey across the Pacific. But I believe what’s happening is only the first of many ambitious individuals taking a stand towards bringing issues of waste reduction to the forefront. Take a look at the video below as de Rothschild explains his philosophy for product design.

embedded by Embedded Video

Photos via National Geographic and Plastiki’s Facebook Page

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    great idea,great project

  • alexmadison

    really interesting idea to implement

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  • http://www.yourgardenshow.com/ marin – www.yourgardenshow.com

    absolutley amazing, we saw them out of the pier in san fran. not only are they using recycled plastic, they even put in a vertical garden, from which they will enjoy kale and leafy greens of all kinds over their voyage. we uploaded our video here: http://www.yourgardenshow.com/latest

    it really gets your mind going on what is possible for not just the future of pollution, but the future of gardening!

  • ecee

    Great perspective on this Marin, it seems so surreal that something like this is actually happening. Thanks for sharing the wonderful video from your site! I am jealous that you got to see this huge project up close!

  • New Comment

    This thing looks like it's going to break up at sea and add to the problem.

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