Recycling Plastic into an Ocean Going Adventure

12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles on an 11,000 nautical mile trip across the Pacific

Plastiki from Dream to Reality

Plastiki from Dream to Reality

Some days I have too many serious stories on my desktop to write about and my mind wants to drift off to the things that really get me excited about human ingenuity and dreaming big. I’ve always thought that dreams are bigger when we are kids. You ask a classroom of five-year-olds: ‘Who can dance and who can sing?’ and everyone will put their hand up; ask a group of 30-year-olds the same question and maybe one or two people will put up their hand. Yet, you can be assured my hand will be up there. Acting on a dream by going on an adventure is keeping that childhood faith in possibility alive, and the only real product of any adventure is story- telling. Well British Banking heir David de Rothschild follows his dreams, which of course is¬† bit more doable with that name and background than if your name is Jack Smith. Although Richard Branson build a similar reputation from scratch.

Today was one of those days I went on dreaming. I was writing on a story outlining that success is about leverage and another story outlining the impact of newly approved Patents on the US and global economy. Another story in the pipeline is about the effect of inflation on our lives later on this year and yet another one on insurances and Tips on how to deal with Midlife crisis. And in the middle of all this I was twiddling a little in my computer’s browser and found this fascinating story about recycling plastic bottles and going on an adventure.

As a kid I loved the adventures of Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl and his 4,300 nautical mile ocean going trip across the Pacific on a raft. That was 63 years ago and the raft was named Kon-Tiki after an ancient God. Today it’s a dream for David de Rothschild and his team to cross 11,000 nautical miles on a yacht that is completely constructed from recycled materials, mostly plastic bottles, hence the name of the vessel and project Plas-Tiki.

Finally in the water

Finally in the water

Even the website is groundbreaking with its 3-D options and information. The desalinator on board produces 6 liters of fresh water every 30 minutes with only the help of the sun, a hand pump and human energy. The 60 ft catamaran’s hulls are made from about 12,000 reclaimed plastic bottles turned into a revolutionary type of plastic that is 100% recyclable, has no contaminants. It’s a woven fabric made from PET fibers and is a natural replacement for fiberglass in ocean going vessels, cars and actually has almost limitless applications.

The story on the onboard toilet is one you need to read yourself and if you want some additional exercise the pedal bikes generate all the power needed for the navigation and communication systems on board. Another swell invention is the hydroponic garden for a limited supply of fruits and vegetables on the trip, not to mention of course the solar panels, the groundbreaking cabin features and all that build on a vessel that uses the old Pirate ship’s Gaff rigging for forward momentum.
Wow, baby I can get excited about this. Of course this project is already more than 3 years in the works and just recently the first ocean trials  were completed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Looks like this spring might be a serious contender for push of.

I wish female skipper Jo Royle and her crew a great and adventurous trip and wish I could have been on it.

If you can find 30 minutes or so in your overfilled daily schedule, you may want to check up on this great modern day adventure. You’ll learn a lot about how plastic in its current form kills our environment.

Oh and don’t worry I still owe you the other stories, but this one drove my passion.


  1. tommylee

    I guess the saltwater is still in the blood or is in in the masts? Anyway, looking at innovation and using George Carlin's line: “the Earth + Plastic” as the only human contribution to mother Earth in a satirical fashion, may all instill some hope that mankind still has a future, albeit in a drastically changing environment.

  2. Pingback: The Plastiki has arrived in Sidney Australia

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