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Collect the ocean's plastic, make an island
  (+18, -3)(+18, -3)
(+18, -3)
  [vote for,

You may have read in the news about the vast patch of floating plastic our oceans are cursed with. I propose an easy way to make use of it.

Because the plastic has very little intrinsic value, its not worth collecting to, for instance, turn it into oil. If it could be used as-is, in-place, then not only would the oceans be cleaner, but one could generate considerable utility. It would not be too difficult to construct a boat that picks up the garbage off of the water, squishes out the water, melts the pieces together, and drops it off as large, shapeless blobs of plastic. Not useful to build on by itself, but now more useable than the previous form.

The next step is to bind these big ugly blobs of garbage together. Old fish nets can be harvested and sewn for this. Yes you'll catch some unwitting seals, but far fewer than if they are not collected and used. If you layer the fishnets several thick, they should last quite a while as a fabric. Now you have a giant garbage quilt floating on the ocean.

Next the expensive part. Place a large wooden platform on top, several feet thick. (built from cheap wood) Since the plastic quilt underneath is so large, it is very unlikely to capsize.

You now have a huge, kind-of-strong floating platform to use as land. Build an airport! Build a city! Build an ark! Whatever you like, and the whole base can be made several square kilometers large for only 40 million USD or so.

Voice, Oct 23 2007

New Utopia http://www.new-utopia.com/
They might go for this idea [mylodon, Oct 24 2007]

(??) Spiral Rainbow Island http://www.geocities.com/spiral_island/
The "Spiral Rainbow Island" created by Richie Sowa is an island is anchored off the coast of Mexico, close to Cancun. The island is made from over 250,000 recycled plastic bottles, packed into netting [Shapharian, Oct 27 2007]

Recycled Island http://www.recycledisland.com/index.html
Couldn't find the date, so it's entirely possible they've found the idea on here... [Selky, May 15 2010]

One word ... http://www.youtube....watch?v=PSxihhBzCjk
[mouseposture, May 15 2010]

[Shapharian]'s broken link http://bitsandpiece.../spiral-island.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, May 15 2010]

This organization is working to make it happen http://recycledisland.com/
[Voice, Jul 19 2010]


       Like a hermit crab!
daseva, Oct 23 2007

       A plastic island called "Garbageland" is something I want. Please accept this bun for your troubles.
awesomest, Oct 23 2007

       How nice of the ocean to scoop it all up for us. I wonder if anyone had any of this planned out in some grandoise governmental scheme that plays out in the next 30 years. Why do they float? Why is it only now becoming news? So many questions, thanks for the answer. However, your binding materials are going to have to be much more advanced than currently stated for people to respectfully move there to improve their lifestyles (something you'd want out of, say, 40 million dollars). Neuter
daseva, Oct 24 2007

       i think this is what happened in waterworld.
k_sra, Oct 24 2007

       //a boat that picks up the garbage off of the water//   

       I picture this drifting for days out of sight of garbage. Would it be crewed?   

       //squishes out the water, melts the pieces together//   

       I imagine the richest harvests of plastic would be found near population centres, where there'd be a good chance of scooping up the odd swimmer.
pertinax, Oct 24 2007

       Unfortunately, I could see nations joining together to make something like this happen in order to create - wait for it - a garbage dump. Landfills are in such disfavour that some people might rationalize the dumping garbage on top of garbage wouldn't do any more harm than has already taken place.
Canuck, Oct 26 2007

       Only if it moved at a fairly regular speed - blocking out sunlight over a vast area of ocean would cause more problems than the garbage collected.
sprogga, Oct 27 2007

       It would have to get bigger and bigger. But would give some an excuse to pollute.
abadon, Nov 08 2007

       Oh, so now we have two reasons to pollute:
It makes you act like a careless wretched animal.
It contributes to garbageland.
daseva, Nov 08 2007

       Well, in the spirit of 'finders keepers', I'd say that garbageland 'currently' belongs to Vancouver. No pun intended on the current part!
quantum_flux, Nov 09 2007

       One word: Thermal Depolymerization. If you can stop this from happening in some way, it would be a fantastic idea. I bun [+] this idea in anticipation that someone will find out how to do it.   

       This can be a gigantic real life example for "One man's waste is another man's land" . Or in this situation, paraphrasing it to "One man's waste is another man's land" would be appropriate too.   

       I dont like the wooden platform idea. Its green in one way and brown in another . Where would so much wood come from ?
kamathln, Nov 10 2008

       Maybe a Nomadic lifestyle can be supported from the ocean, using plastic as a building material.
Selky, Aug 18 2009

       //One word: Thermal Depolymerization.//

DrBob, Aug 19 2009

       thermal rather than the biological depolymerization that evolution will throw at us.
wjt, Aug 19 2009

       The original "one word:" <link>
mouseposture, May 15 2010

       I was sure that there used to be a 'Collonize the Gyres' idea.   

       lol, you must have seen that television commercial with the whale floating on top of the garbage. Talk about a dramatization.   

       Your logic is sound, but the question no one is addressing is where is all this garbage? I have seen a little here and there, and it would be nice to have cleaned up, but it certainly doesn't exist in the quantities your are suggesting.   

       The cost to collect the "several square kilometers" of garbage would be in the tens of billions of dollars. Just look at how much work it is to collect the oil from the gulf spill and it was centralized.   

       Fun idea, but wanted to point out some reality :)
EricNutsch, May 16 2010

       Eric, Eric, Eric, as you well know, money is no object here, in the bakery, well is it? Garbage good, money...not so much.
blissmiss, Jul 20 2010

       I see entire town and airport built an a plastic island.   

       Then one night... because it is top heavy and the wind is up---- the entire island rolls face down.
popbottle, May 13 2014


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