CITY OF ROTTERDAM USES PLASTIC TO MAKE FLOATING ISLAND GARDEN
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By Michelle Moore
In June the company announced they had successfully completed their Litter Trap pilot project realized with The Hebo Maritiemservice .
The project was tested in the Rotterdam harbour for a year and a half and proved to be very effective in collecting and retaining garbage regardless of currents created by ships, wind or changes in the tide.
Wageningen University analyzes the recovered plastics and studies the plastic process to guide the process of building the blocks with the help of students from Rotterdam University.
The Hebo Maritiemservice cleans the plastic and builds the hexagonal blocks. A trial dimension of two metre long sides for the eight sides of a hexagon are being used. Each hexagon is built separately and can be fastened together.
When asked whether there was a risk the plastic could break down, Knoester said they expect the Recycled Park to have a lifespan of about 50 years and have added a UV blocker to prevent degradation by the sun.
He said "in this period we expect no micro plastics to come of our parks, mainly because of the strong, thick and smooth surface. Nevertheless we will keep monitoring the project and take it out of the water when any eventual degradation takes place."
As the project advances, the size or even the shape could change depending on how the blocks perform in the environment. So far, one of the possibilities envisioned involves separating different types of plastics to see how well they float.
Knoester said "we're still discussing with our partners how much further the park in Rotterdam can grow. As the same time the national and international interest is growing and there are a lot of locations that have the same issues as Rotterdam has. We want to retrieve litter in as much rivers as possible."
Passive litter traps on the island of Ambon in Indonesia have been installed with support and collaboration from the local community. The litter traps themselves were also built with local material. They expect to widen their collection to basins in Brussels and the Charleroi Canal.
The Foundation is so hopeful that they have already made plans for the day that they run out of plastic waste to collect from water ways. They plan on using a bio-based composite made from fiber reinforced plastic made completely or partly from renewable materials.
"Besides the park we're also looking at other techniques and products that can be created. As an example we also just 3D-printed an outdoor sofa with recycled plastics", said Knoester.
He said "with the launch of the passive litter traps and the first 140m2 of floating park the international interest is growing." The group is currently looking for new areas to develop parks and other projects in the future.
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