GLOBE-Net, July 7, 2010
It is an intriguing idea - bordering on the audacious; but it might just work and it might help solve a growing environmental disaster in the Pacific Ocean.
Recycled Island is a research project launched by Rotterdam-based WHIM architecture designed to assess the feasibility of creating a habitable floating island from plastic wastes in the Pacific Ocean.
The North Pacific Gyre, located in an area North-East of Hawaii, has the largest concentration of plastic so far identified, roughly the size of France and Spain together.
It is recognized that harvesting the plastic from the Ocean would be time consuming and could take years.
Rather than trying to scoop up massive amounts of plastic and other debris and bringing it ashore for disposal or reprocessing, the Recycled Island idea is to reprocess it on site and to create an island with the area of about 10,000 square kilometers - about the size of the island of Hawaii itself. That way, long and costly transportation problems could be avoided.
The proposal has three components: cleaning the ocean of gigantic amounts of plastic waste; creating the new island; and constructing a sustainable habitat on that island.