March 22, 2010

The Plastiki Sets Sail to Glorify Waste

This past weekend, the Plastiki, a 60-foot catamaran buoyed by 12,500 reused plastic bottles, launched from San Francisco’s Pier 31. The brainchild of eco-warrior David de Rothschild and the product of four years of construction, planning, and media and sponsor outreach, Rothschild’s crew will take the Plastiki on a three-month tour covering over 7500 miles through the Pacific Ocean.

Monique Jessen of writes,

According to the BBC, the crew of six left San Francisco Bay on Saturday and began their 11,000-nautical mile journey to Sydney, Australia. As previously reported on Tonic, The Plastiki Project was founded by British banking heir David de Rothschild, to raise awareness of how plastic waste is poisoning our oceans. En route to Australia, the crew will pass through the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ an area of waste so vast, it is believed to be twice the size of Texas.

The vessel is not actually completely composed of plastic bottles. As Camille Rickets for GreenBeat reported in February 2010,

While actual empty soda bottles are stacked densely in the Plastiki’s two hulls to keep it afloat, they are encased in a non-recycled plastic casing. Apparently recycled plastic would not be strong enough to make the ambitious journey, though it was important to Rothschild that it be recyclable in the long run. Aside from that, most of the other materials were previously used, including the aluminum mast, which was formerly an irrigation pipe.

Nevertheless, Rothschild and crew make an important point: we are utterly swimming in plastic, a message that has made a splash across numerous big media and indie media outlets alike, from NBC to the Huffington Post.

You can track the Plastiki across the Pacific Ocean on The Plastiki Control Center, which uses “expedition tracking” software provided as sponsorship by Hewlett-Packard.

And of course, The Plastiki has a Twitter account.