In less than a year's time, a boat made of marine plastic waste will sail on the Indian Ocean to deliver a message: ‘do not discard plastics, take care of the environment.’
The idyllic coastlines of Kenya's Lamu Island are increasingly being invaded by plastic waste abandoned on the beaches or brought in by ocean currents. Anglo-Ethiopian Ben Morrisson has decided to react to this environmental issue by launching the FlipFlopi project. His goal: raising awareness among consumers regarding the consequences of their actions, and conveying a message: reduce, re-use, recycle.
To this end, he approached Ali Skandra, a builder of traditional Kenyan boats, and Sam Ngaruiya, the owner of the "Regeneration Africa" plastic recycling unit. Together, they worked on building an 18-metre long sailboat made entirely of marine plastic waste collected by local organisations. This action had three benefits: cleaning up the coastline, offering new opportunities for recyclers, and preserving the wood from the nearby forests, a material traditionally used to build this type of sailboat. Two years of work were required to devise the ideal process for converting the plastic waste, mainly bottles and bags, into a very solid conglomerate, a type of "stone-hard" block which, when combined with a little sawdust, appears to be ideal for building the structural parts of the boat. The covering is made using the 200,000 flip flops recovered on the coast and is so colourful that it will not go unnoticed! "If you manufacture high-quality products, this will enable bringing great projects to fruition because they create jobs and give value to plastics. If you give value to plastics, our environment will soon be cleaned up.”
This boat, made from recycled plastic, will set sail in January 2019 for a three-month trip in the Indian Ocean: 5,000 km to raise awareness among populations about proper waste management and promote recycling initiatives, with one ultimate goal: reaching the Cape of Good For the time being, a prototype of 6 meters long is nearly ready and will be tested in the water around February 2018.
Flipflop expedition is still waiting for partners to carry out its beautiful project.