Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I had to post a comment about an article I read in the Chronicle this morning. My complaint? The idea that Plastiki is "made" out of plastic bottles or is "recyclable" is deliberate disinformation and self promotion.

The vessel has an engineered, composite structure built from laminated foam board. The core structure is made with a standard foam (used to make fridges, surfboards, boats) with a manufactured Polyethylene Terephthalate fabric glued and vacuum bagged to it. The voids in the structure are filled with high quality PET bottles...that's it.

Take a look at this picture:
Does that main look like it's made from plastic bottles? Or how 'bout the one below? The spars, rigging and equipment are regular sailing yacht stuff -- I suppose it can all be "recycled" at a swap meet...

Furthermore, the comparison to Kon-Tiki expedition is false. I don't know if Thor Heyderdahl really proved anything either, but it really was an expedition into the void. Kon-Tiki was a sodden, balsa raft that drifted miserably to leeward, carrying 200 coconuts for food and their water in bamboo containers. With aluminum spars, kevlar sails, aramid rigging, GPS, radar, sat-phones and an engineered watertight hull, Plastiki is a modern (although structurally inefficient) sailing yacht.

De Rothschild is a tall, handsome, self promoting rich guy...I've got nothing against him. But did they actually prove anything? Will their endeavor prevent people from buying soda in plastic bottles? Did they use less energy, or is it more recyclable than a homemade plywood catamaran? Is the "expedition" worth wasting the electrons it takes to publish this comment? (answer -- no).

I'm not dissing anyone who sails across an ocean, but hero? I don't think so. In contrast, here's the Junk Raft:
I think they actually did something...not sure what, but I'm pretty sure it's more than what De Rothschild did with Plastiki. Check out the junk raft:

1 comment:

johnclayton said...

"De Rothschild is a tall, handsome, self promoting rich guy...I've got nothing against him..."

as if you can say anything