Plastic Island

SUMMARY: The goal of the Plastic Island Project is to use the existing Great Pacific Garbage Patch that was discovered twelve years ago by Charles Moore, to develop a self-sustaining island inhabited by around 800 people that will collect and recycle the tons of plastic floating around our oceans.

PROBLEM SPACE: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch consists of over 9 million km2 of plastic waste that is killing millions of animals yearly. Located in international waters, this is currently everybody’s problem, but nobody’s responsibility. The Plastic Island Project addresses the need to keep our waters clean and protect our wildlife.

SOLUTION: The concept of Plastic Island is revolutionary on three fronts: the global approach of its conception; its approach on waste-collecting without chasing it; and the 100% self-supporting concept.

Being self-supporting means that besides collecting and recycling plastic, other necessary functions need to be included on the Island as well. These functions range from cultivating food to providing energy, housing and medical facilities. Plastic Island succeeds in combining these functions creatively and comprehensively. The Island itself is designed to save both space and resources. The use of eco-friendly technologies ensures the ecological footprint is kept as low as possible. Sustainable energy will be generated through solar panels and wind turbines.
According to our calculations, the project will create around 800 jobs. International cooperation is not only necessary to realize the project, once ready it will allow people from across the world to come to the island and live and work together. The living quarters for the workforce simultaneously serve as lifeboats. During normal Island operation, the lifeboats are private quarters where people can eat, sleep and relax. However, in case of an emergency, these boats can be released to open water.

Because of its seaborne location, Plastic Island is an ideal base for marine life research. An on-site science centre will not only conduct research, but also provide information that can be used worldwide for education on marine life, sustainable energy, recycling processes etc.
On an economic level the Island is also self-supporting; rising oil prices will directly increase plastic prices. The plastic waste is recycled into granulites, which in turn can be used to manufacture useful products. These products can be sold, thus paying for the Islands running costs.

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