If you don’t already know about the Plastiki, you should read this

57 days ago the Plastiki set sail from San Francisco, headed towards Sydney, Australia with a crew of 8 and this global message: “waste is fundamentally a design flaw.” Adventure Ecology, the organization behind The Plastiki, wanted to raise awareness about marine pollution and plastic waste, and really, what better way is there to do so then to build a boat out of 12,500 plastic bottles and sail it across the Pacific Ocean?

Some Facts about Marine Pollution and Plastic Waste

Nearly every plastic bottle ever made still exists.

Somewhere between 60% and 80% of marine pollution is plastic waste.

There is an island of plastic garbage nearly twice the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean.

The U.S. produces 15 billion pounds of plastic annually; only 1 billion is recycled.

Plastic bottles are 100% recyclable, but only 20% are actually recycled.

The Plastiki Vessel

The Plastiki is 60 ft long, weighs nearly 12 tons, and travels at an average speed of 5 knots. The 60 ft mast is a reclaimed aluminum irrigation pipe, the sail is handmade from recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) cloth, and the number of plastic bottles used in the hull (12,500) roughly equals the number consumed in the U.S. every 8.3 seconds.

The vessel is self-sufficient in terms of its energy use: two wind turbines mounted on the stern, solar panels on the roof of the cabin, and angled pv panels on the back of the boat charge the bank of six 12 volt batteries powering the boat’s (very efficient) electrical system. Bicycle generators offer an additional source of power (and an opportunity for the crew to exercise.) The Plastiki also sports a vacuum water evaporator for desalinating water, a urine-to-water recovery system for watering the on-board hydroponic vertical garden, a rainwater catchments system and separating toilet with evaporative technology for weight reduction. The design team even went so far as to use a newly developed organic glue (made from cashew nuts and sugar cane) for secondary bonding and hull reinforcement. Key People on the team included architect Michael Pawlyn, naval architect Andy Dovell, boat builder Andy Fox, sustainability consultant and cabin architect Nathaniel Corum, and solar array designer Jason Iftakhar.

Why is the Plastiki a great example of Sustainable Design?

In contrast to the WHY, a “green” yacht that debuted earlier this year at the Abu Dhabi Yachts Show, this boat’s greenness is much more than just marketing. From initial intention to final construction, the Plastiki sets an example for a type of collaborative design that has tremendous marketing potential but also demonstrate substantive design that is innovative, sustainable, and inspirational.

Artwork by Andrew Rae, initially published on www.theplastiki.com.