As part of Recycle Week (20-26 June 2011) we were at the JogScotland 5km event in the Scottish Borders this week, making sure that people recycled their water bottles after the race (thanks to the Council and venue for providing facilities). Events like these are great, but can result in a lot of plastic going to landfill unless organisers and participants ensure that recycling facilities are provided and used. You can see from the photo (right) the amount of recycling picked up at one event (the Sonisphere festival) in only 24 hours. So please remember to recycle your plastic bottles when you’re out at events such as these, and if you’re an organiser – we’d like to encourage you to lay on recyling facilities.
Last week saw the end of a remarkable journey.
On Monday 26th July the catamaran boat named Plastiki sailed into Sydney harbour after crossing the Pacific Ocean, 128 days after leaving San Francisco some 8,000miles to the East. The crew of six will have a tangible sense of achievement through completing this crossing. Showing to the world what is possible with perseverance, team work and a little help from a plastic bottle or two. Or in this case 12,500 plastic bottles.
The hulls on the Plastiki, a boat that is built from recycled plastic, used the buoyancy from two-litre PET drinking bottles to sail across the world’s largest ocean. These every day items that we use, with out thinking too much about, became a key component to enable this voyage. With a degree of irony the plastic bottles that would have previously carried some form of liquid, became the very things that safely carried a crew across the liquid that is the Pacific Ocean.
As well as a crew the Plastiki carried a message. The message on the scale and nature of plastic marine pollution as it sailed through a stretch of ocean known as the North Pacific Garbage Patch, and an innovative demonstration of what can be done with what is considered waste materials.
But alas the journey has come to an end and the question of what will be next comes to the fore. With the Plastiki and all our own plastic vessels, the common drinks bottles that we use on a daily basis, there are sure to be new journeys that they will depart on. With plastic bottle recycling facilities being widely available throughout Scotland (view www.sort-it.org.uk to find your nearest recycling facility) the opportunity for your bottles to begin a voyage of its own is close to hand. Will they become a new compost bin, or an item of garden furniture perhaps or some other item?
Whatever we do with our plastic and however we use it we can share the same perspective as the Plastiki. To be able to see that which may be considered waste as something more. The philosophy of the Plastiki is:
”It’s (Plastiki is) about recognizing that waste is fundamentally a design flaw (it does not appear in nature) It’s about re-thinking waste as a resource….It’s about encouraging the world to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink more of the planets natural resources. It’s about delivering a spectacular global “Message in a Bottle”
With that thought I will go and wash out the future boat and see you on the North Atlantic.
You can do all sorts of things with old plastic drinks bottles…
You can put them in a bin so they add to the ever growing pile of landfill in the UK:
By the way, that’s the worst option.
You can make a small greenhouse for propagating plant seedlings:
You can make a big greenhouse out of lots of bottles, provided you’re a bit handy with a hammer and drill:
You can make a bird feeder:
You can put them out for recycling:
Or … you can build a boat.
In Summer 2009, David de Rothschild and a crew of experts, scientists and creatives will sail 12,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Sydney in a boat made out of plastic bottles and recycled waste products.
Good luck to them. Let’s hope it doesn’t fall apart because if it did Mr de Rothschild would presumably be guilty of illegally dumping waste in the sea. Mind you judging by the pictures it looks pretty sturdy. It’s also a great way of raising awareness of the importance of trying to avoid plastic waste. Imagine if the Waste Aware budget could stretch to such ambitious projects! I could try my hand at making an aeroplane out of old cans. What do you mean it’s been done?
The world of rubbish has just become a lot more interesting…