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Paradise Recycled: Architects Dream of Turning Great Pacific Garbage Patch Into Habitable Island

recycled island

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a jumble of plastic trash that spans hundreds of miles northwest of Hawaii, has gotten lots of attention ever since billionaire adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild announced his plans to visit the trash mass on the Plastiki, a boat constructed from recycled waste and webs of plastic. Now the Plastiki has launched, and a group of architects from Rotterdam have already come up with another way to draw attention to the plastic gyre: a Hawaii-sized island made entirely out of recycled plastic.

recycled island

GOOD points us to the Recycled Island Web site, where Rotterdam WHIM Architecture explains its motivation:

Recycled Island is a research project on the potential of realizing a habitable floating island in the Pacific Ocean made from all the plastic waste that is momentarily floating around in the ocean. The proposal has three main aims; Cleaning our oceans from a gigantic amount of plastic waste; Creating new land; And constructing a sustainable habitat. Recycled island seeks the possibilities to recycle the plastic waste on the spot and to recycle it into a floating entity. The constructive and marine technical aspects take part in the project of creating a sea worthy island.

It sounds crazy—and maybe it is—but the idea makes sense. WHIM points out that the biggest concentration of plastic in the ocean has a footprint as large as France and Spain combined. That means there is plenty of plastic already floating around to make an island. And wouldn't it be nice to provide future climate change refugees with a new sustainable home? Not that anyone would necessarily want to live on a hunk of floating plastic, but the idea of taking trash and turning it into something useful is always thought-provoking.