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Message in 12,500 bottles

Last week saw the end of a remarkable journey.

Zero Waste Scotland | 4 Aug 10

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:

gnizing 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.

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