Bruce and Anne Kania have patented a system using shredded PET plastic bottles (one of the more difficult plastics to recycle) to construct floating islands that are planted with vegetation. The man-made islands had to be porous enough so that lots of water could flow through for cleaning, and yet solid enough so that plants could grow on them.

                  Shredded PET Bottles

 

Bruce, who is 57, is an inventor and entrepreneur who worked in prosthetics, textiles and sporting goods (he invented a broadhead arrow). Then, about a decade ago, he came up with the idea of turning plastic trash into man-made floating islands that can clean polluted water, spur the growth of fish, provide species habitat and sequester carbon.

About 400,000 islands have been built using Floating Island's intellectual property. … this year the company has commissioned four islands that are more than 20,000 sq. ft. Two of the biggest were bought by the Army Corps of Engineers and located in Dutchy Lake, Oregon, and Sheepy Lake, California, to act as nesting habitat for Caspian terns. The goal was to get the terns to locate away from the Columbia River, where they were preying on migrating baby salmon. (The designers placed 250 tern decoys on the island to lure the birds.) Early results are promising.

Tags: Clean_water, Plastic_bottles

Views: 73

Replies to This Discussion

Question is, what are known and/or possible issues with PET plastic in water?
Steven & Steven,
I agree that using PET as the base is probably not the best option – the best option would be to ban the use of PET except in limited use where other plastics would not serve. However, there are already 1000's of tons of the stuff in landfills and huge floating islands of the stuff in the oceans.
PET is extremely difficult to recycle as it is impervious to almost all solvents (one can store Acetone in it which will desolve most plastics). Even if we stop using it tomorrow, what is already in the environment will be there for centuries. But, as far as I know PET does not release chemicals into the water because of its insolubility.
As long as it is already present in the environment using it to clean polluted water seems to be a better option than dumping it in land fills and waterways. But, as I said a ban would be the best solution.
Dude, my name is right there...seriously copy and paste!

But, as far as I know PET does not release chemicals into the water because of its insolubility.


This is my understanding as well, I just want the question out there...maybe someone knows something we don't. I think we use PET plastics at my work to store very sensitive water samples...if they leeched into water that wouldn't work. We are also supposedly recycling them though so I'm going to have to check that out some more.
Sorry about the name screw up - my bad.

I did some research a number of years ago on PET looking for some glue that would work on the stuff or dissolve it like acetone - the only thing I found was using a procedure of a methylated compound and high heat. Most of the plastic sample containers are made of PET because of its chemical inactivity.
I probably gave the wrong impression about recycling - I was thinking in terms of depolymerising and reforming which is difficult. It is very recyclable by shredding and using it in rugs, synthetic fiber fill, clothing and artificial growth medium (that floats)
Are you sure the warning involved PET plastics? PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) doesn't contain Bisphenol A. which is the dangerous one that the warnings are about.

I'm not considering making new plastic material just the stuff that's already littering the landscape, oceans and waterways- it's already out there why not put it to good use, it's just a matter of shredding the crap up. .
Future generations have more than enough to hate us already - maybe cleaning up some water will give us some positive PR.
Sorry about the name screw up.
The article that addresses PET is suggestive not conclusive as the author states,

Wagner cautions against jumping to conclusions. Water is still a healthy beverage, he says. And until the compounds at work in the snail study have been identified, it's not possible to know if PET plastics pose a human health risk.
I'm not defending PET or any plastic, but the fact remains, there are 1000's of tons of the crap already in the environment so it would seem better to put it to a positive use than to let it hang around for centuries being an eyesore.
but the fact remains, there are 1000's of tons of the crap already in the environment so it would seem better to put it to a positive use than to let it hang around for centuries being an eyesore.


Then what you are suggesting is that we go and collect all the plastic already polluting the environment, shred it, and then put it back?
Then what you are suggesting is that we go and collect all the plastic already polluting the environment, shred it, and then put it back?

We already collect a lot of it and recycle it into new (but non-degradable) products (clothing, rugs).the islands are just using it in another way. However, I would like to see any future manufacturing of PET banned because, while it can be recycled, it can't be reprocessed.
I love that they're actually doing this, instead of just talking about it!

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