31 May 2009

Interview with David de Rothschild on Plastiki Expedition

By Mary Vincent - Follow on Twitter @MaryVincent

David de Rothschild, founder of Adventure Ecology, spoke about his Plastiki Expedition at the Greener by Design Conference May 19, 2009 and I briefly interviewed him for Clean Tech and Green Business News. He stated "How do we take plastic and make it part of the solution? It takes 7 litres of water to make 1 litre water bottle."
Supported by Adventure Ecology’s network of global supporters and institutions, the Plastiki aims to use the expedition to heighten worldwide consciousness of the extreme challenges that our oceans and their inhabitants face due to excessive human debris, over-fishing and a rapidly changing climate, while at the same time using a competition to articulate the solutions.
His “Message in a Bottle" consists of the team planning to design and navigate a boat created from plastic bottles through the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating landfill located between California and Hawaii that's twice the size of Texas. He plans to highlight environmental problems to a crew of filmmakers and scientists, including the Bikini Atoll (to examine the nuclear fallout) and the sinking island of Tuvalu (to investigate global warming). Utilizing the Plastiki as a smart platform for re-thinking waste as a resource, Adventure Ecology will simultaneously launch the SMART competition to discover the best pioneering solutions to beating waste. The competition will invite individuals and organizations from the Science, Marketing, Art & industrial design Research and Technology sectors to present tangible solutions to the problems. Each winning proposal per category will receive a financial grant to support its development.
The boat is planning to set sail in August 2009 from San Francisco navigating more than 100 days and 10,000 nautical miles to Sydney, Australia . (Map by Emily Cooper)

The design team was inspired by a pomegranate - a hard exterior and soft interior. They are using a material called SRPET (Self reinforcing polyethylene terephthalate) which is a clean, recyclable plastic that is half the weight of fiberglass and three quarters the strength.

The Plastiki will be made of 12,500 2-liter plastic bottles collected by Waste Management, weigh 9 tons, have a crew of six, a composting toilet, onboard renewable energy, and a vegetable garden. Per our interview, he wants to "create a garden in a recycled bottle and get people to reconnect with nature".
Company sponsorships include Hewlett-Packard, Kiehl's, and International Watch Company, and the latest information about the Plastiki project can be found here: http://www.theplastiki.com
(Graphic by Pete Guest)