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The Plastiki Arrives in Sydney

July 29th, 2010 · 1 Comment

The Plastiki arrives in Sydney, the 60-foot boat made from plastic water bottles and other recycled materials after sailing 8000 miles across the Pacific.

The Plastiki arrives in Sydney, Australia
The Plastiki seen here sailing into Sydney, near the famous Sydney Opera House landmark. Photo: Adventure Ecology.

Plastiki, the world’s first 60-foot catamaran made from recycled plastic water bottles sailed triumphantly into Sydney Harbor last Monday (26th July 2010, Sydney time) after an epic 8,000 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco.

The Plastiki crew of expert ocean sailors, adventurers, divers, photographers, and film makers all witnessed the horrific effects of pollution on the ocean during during their 4 month long journey. Skipper Jo Royle, Co-Skipper David Thomson, Expedition leader David de Rothschild, Olav Heyerdahl, Graham Hill, Luca Babini, Matthew Grey, Max Jourdan, Singeli Agnew and Vern Moen arrived in Sydney aboard the catamaran and were welcomed by a huge crowd of friends, supporters, and family members.

The Plastiki has remarkably remained afloat and seaworthy after the arduous trek from North America, a testimonial to David de Rothschild’s vision and the ingenuity of his team of boat designers and builders . It is constructed from 12,500 plastic water bottles (filled with carbon dioxide) and other recycled materials. The crew generated electricity to run the navigation and communication instruments on board from renewable sources: solar panels, wind and trailing turbines, and a bicycle generator.

Plastiki in San Francisco
The Plastiki near the Golden Gate Bridge at the start of her journey from San Francisco to Sydney. Photo: The Plastiki.

The Plastiki idea draws inspiration from a similar adventurous voyage – that of the Kon-Tiki by famed Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. Heyerdahl embarked on that voyage to show that people from South America in pre-Columbian times could have settled Polynesia by crossing the Pacific with the indigenous materials and level of technology available to them at the time.

Another major inspiration was the seminal work on sustainability Cradle to Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. In their book, the authors demonstrated that not only is it possible to create products that are forever useful at different stages of the product’s life cycle, but that such a model is both sustainable and profitable.


Video: The Plastiki Expedition.

The Plastiki set sail to demonstrate that the things we throw away so carelessly, like plastic, can be recycled and repurposed, and that there is a better, more earth-friendly alternative to our current consumerist lifestyle. They also wanted to show the severe impact of pollution on the ocean by deliberately sailing through the area in the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

As David de Rothschild puts it quite succinctly: “I think the very simple message is that it’s time that we beat waste when we start to look at it as a resource.”

Congratulations to David and the entire Plastiki crew and project support team. Well done, guys!

Tags: Plastic Recycling

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Vinyl Banners // Jul 29, 2010 at 10:36 am

    I love that they took a big risk in building the boat, but I am equally happy that they are a floating billboard for the economy!