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Would you set sail in a recycled plastic boat?

Georgina Wilson-Powell

2 November 2017

What goes around comes around in the Thames. Hubbub has teamed up with Sky Ocean Rescue to create the world's first boat made from recycled plastic waste. The slimline craft will offer 'Plastic Fishing' trips to scoop up more plastic litter, which will be made into more boats. Talk about a closed loop economy.

Using a thousand year old punt design, Mark Edwards MBE, (a Richmond-based boat builder who previously built the Queen’s barge, ‘Gloriana’) has built a 12 seater slimline boat out of Plaswood (that's a ton of recycled single-use plastic combined with wood to you and me). 

Her name is Poly Mer.

TOMS (UK)

The recycled plastic boat will head out on the Thames from Canary Wharf to take people 'plastic fishing' - fishing for bits of plastic waste that are dumped into the river. Over 300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames a year - a lot of that is food and drink plastic waste. It's thought that as much as 70% of fish in the Thames have plastic in their gut and microplastic particles are ending up in our food chain and in our drinking water.

Boat builder Mark Edwards said: “As a traditional boat builder I have had some interesting phone calls over the years enquiring about Royal barges, wooden submarines and mediaeval invasion boats but the recent enquiry from Hubbub for a recycled plastic workpunt was, I soon realised, technically one of the most demanding projects I have been asked to undertake. It was a challenge but such a worthwhile project that experimentation began immediately. The lovely result was that since plastic wood can not be effectively glued, mechanical fastenings had to be used and the winner was the 'clenched copper nail' invented 2,000 years ago and used so effectively by the Vikings who ventured so far afield in their 'clinker' longships. Old and new come together to produce the Poly Mer, long may she rule the seas!”

Funds raised by the group trips will help to build more boats and fund trips for London school children to educate them about plastic waste. Want to go plastic fishing? See here for details.

Want more? Here's 7 brands who turn plastic bottles found in the ocean into clothing and more.

Meet other people who care about getting rid of plastic waste - in the pebble pod

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