On March 20th, 2010, six intrepid explorers set off from San Francisco, California to Sydney, Australia on what was described as the 'adventure of the century', aboard Plastiki, a revolutionary catamaran made entirely from recycled plastic.
Plastiki's body, conceived, developed and tested in San Francisco is made out of 12,500 bottles of plastic and a unique recyclable plastic material called Seretex. Its mast is made from a recycled aluminum irrigation pipe, while its unique sail is hand-made from recycled PET cloth. To ensure that the entire boat can be recycled, a combination of cashewnuts and sugar was used to stick the bottles together.
After sailing over 8,000 nautical miles, battling the forces of nature across the world's biggest stretch of water - the Pacific Ocean, the unusual sailing vessel, arrived to a heroes welcome at the Sydney harbor on July 24th.
The catamaran was also designed to be completely off the power grid, instead relying on renewable energy sources - solar panels, bicycle generators and wind and propeller turbines. It also had a built-in catchment system to capture the rainwater, as well as, a hydroponic rotating garden.
The brainchild of 30-year old David de Rothschild, founder of Adventure Ecology, a non-profit educational foundation, Plastiki was built to not just highlight the problem of plastic pollution, but also, demonstrate its re-use in innovative ways.
And, he has succeeded - People all over the world have started to think about innovative ways to re-use plastic ranging from a massive building in Taiwan, to dreaming up a self-sustaining inhabitable island. Things can only get better, now that Plastiki's voyage has concluded so successfully!
The history-making vessel will be exhibited at the Australian National Maritime museum to provide inspiration for future generations. As for the Plastiki team - They will continue to plow away at their effort to educate the world starting with Plastiki Pods - tailor-made projects geared toward solving the ecological issues of the islands they visited during their voyage.
Meanwhile Mr. De Rothschild wants every person in the world to pledge the five R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink and most importantly, eliminate plastic by simply, Refusing! To make your pledge log on to myplastiki.com. It's the least we all can do to ensure the well being of our planet! To read more about the crew and their fascinating journey go to www.theplastiki.com.