Meet the Dutch Company Transforming Plastic Debris into Floating Parks

The Recycled Island Foundation is taking a smart, proactive, and circular approach to the issue of marine plastic pollution (h/t Inhabitat). The Rotterdam-based organization has devised a passive litter trap design that collects plastic debris in local waterways before they reach the sea. The collected plastic is then sorted and recycled to create floating parks, wildlife habitats, and other products.

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“Considering that most of the plastics in our oceans actually come there via rivers, we found the potential to retrieve plastic from our own local river and to prevent these plastics from entering the sea,” founder Ramon Knoester said in an interview. “Retrieving marine litter in rivers is much easier than trying to take the plastic from the open sea or even the ocean. We’re now retrieving the plastic close to the source, which also helps to ensure that the quality of the material is still very good.”

Initially a local solution, the litter traps (which are themselves made of recycled plastic) have gotten global traction and are currently installed in Belgium and Indonesia with plans in the works for Vietnam, France, the Philippines, and Brazil. According to Inhabitat, each trap in Belgium is emptied twice a week and collects an average of 1.5 cubic meters of waste each month.

Last summer the foundation opened its first floating park prototype in Rotterdam, which is currently open to visitors. The park is composed of 28 hexagonal blocks made out of plastic picked up by the litter traps in nearby Meuse River. Together they cover a total area of about 1,500 square feet. “Through the park runs a small canal about half a meter deep, where birds, fish and micro-organisms find food, breeding ground, and shelter,” the company explains on their website.

They’ve also begun partnering with other companies to develop different types of products from the plastic materials. They currently offer a series of 3D-printed outdoor sofas and are partnering with Unibrick to develop a durable plastic brick to be used as an affordable, easy-to-assemble housing material.

Source: core77

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