David de Rothschild is taking recycling to a whole new level. Taking thousands of plastic bottles, which de Rothschild says are a symbol of global waste, and constructing a boat that he plans to sail from California to Australia, a journey of 11,000 miles.
“It’s all sail power,” de Rothschild said. “The idea is to put no kind of pollution back into the atmosphere, or into our oceans for that matter, so everything on the boat will be composted. Everything will be recycled. Even the vessel is going to end up being recycled when we finish.”
The boat, appropriately named the Plastiki, is currently being built on a San Francisco pier and is scheduled to set sail from San Francisco in April. Plastiki’s twin hulls will be filled with 12,000 to 16,000 bottles. Covering the hulls will be panels made from recycled a woven plastic fabric called PET.
“This actually is the same material that is made out of bottles,” said de Rothschild of the PET fabric. “We actually wrap the PET fabric over the PET foam and then basically put it under a vacuum, heat it, press it and create these long PET panels. So that means the boat is, technically, one giant bottle.”
Plastiki will also have a watertight cabin, which sleeps four. Two wind turbines and an array of solar panels will charge a bank of 12-volt batteries, which will power the onboard electronics. The ultimate goal of the Plastiki voyage is to draw attention to waste as a renewable resource while encouraging people to embrace clean, renewable energy.