Fishing for Plastic, who the heck would want to fish for plastic? A group of people based out of Amsterdam have come up with what I consider one of the best darn ideas I have seen in a long time. It’s so simple you wonder why no one has thought of this before. There name: Plastic Whale, get it? Like hunting whales but they are hunting for plastic, genius.
OK, so here’s the business model, first the company fishes out plastic bottles and other plastic debris from the city’s numerous canals using simple nets and their hands, what ever works. Second, when enough of this trash is collected the plastic is transformed into material to make a boat. Holy Christmas what a great idea, but that’s not where it stops. Third, and this is the genius, the new boat is used to fish for more plastic bottles & trash that in turn will build more boats!
If this catches on it could turn into a monster of a business. Imagine if other countries started doing this and the boats got big enough to go out to sea.
Their goal, to rid the world’s waters of plastic pollution. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic trash is entering our waterways annually. My question is with all of the awareness out their of the harm plastic does to our environment who the hell is indiscriminately throwing plastic trash of any kind into our waterways?
The founder and captain Marius Smit is up to the task and states that he not only envisions a world of plastic-free waters but also a world where people understand that everyday trash, such as plastic bottles can be transformed into “a valuable raw material”.
This statement resonates with the efforts of Keller Slater who is taking the same concept but instead of turning plastic bottles into boats he is retriving discarded fishing nets and turning them into clothing. This same clothing can then be recycled and turned into clothing again. Hell it seems like these pioneers are on to something.
Since 2010 Plastic Whale has fished out more than 50,000 plastic bottles and over 10,000 kilos of various waste from the canals of Amsterdam according to Smit.
They have seven boats so far all made from recovered plastic and even give businesses and individuals plastic fishing tours, how cool is that.
Smit does not stop there, Plastic Whale takes the bottle caps and create beautiful mosaics on the floors of the boats. He started another company WasteBoards which makes unique skateboards from bottle caps.
His take on plastic and what he wants everyone to learn is plastic should not be regarded as valueless waste, but as valuable raw material. “The root of the problem, as we see it, is that people regard plastic as a disposable. We try to change people’s perceptions” Smit states.
All this indiscriminate discarding of plastic into waterways has caused a global problem in our oceans called “Plastic Soup” which is poisoning our sea life. It must stop and I believe Smit is on to something.
Knowing and understanding the problem is the first step. Be aware of what you are doing with your plastic when your done. Find out where to get it recycled responsibly. Support efforts like Marius Smit and maybe you could even start something in your state or country.
Bottom line, be part of the solution, not the problem. Whatever you do don’t throw any plastic into any water way thinking one bottle or one plastic bag won’t make much of a difference, it does.
We would love to hear from you and any ideas you have to stem the flow of plastics into our oceans or maybe you have seen or heard of someone else helping to solve this issue in a new way that you could share with the rest of us.