Recycled park at the New Meuse - Copyrights : WHIM architecture

Recycled floating islands

Posted on 04 March 2015.

In Rotterdam, the Recycled Park program will transform plastic waste into a green river island. An idea from the Wihm architecture firm - and not their first attempt of the kind.

As part of Recycled Park program, a 6 x 12 floating platform called the Plastic Visser (fisher) retrieves plastic waste from the Nieuwe Maas.

If you still think an island means waves and warm sandy beaches, branches bending under the weight of coconuts on a small piece of land, you will have to adjust your mental image. In the port of Rotterdam, a completely new island could be about to float between the sky and the water. It will be an extension of the city in the form of park where birds come to nest, fish lay their eggs, and people take walks. A utopian project hides behind this idyllic image – the Recycled Park. It is an artificial island that will float on the Nieuwe Maas and be made from recycled waste. The waste will come from collecting the tons of plastic dumped in the river flowing into the port of Rotterdam – it will be collected before reaching its usual last resting place in the North Sea. The concept of a recycled eco-island is the dream child of the Professor Calculus of ecological architecture, also known as Ramon Knoester, who works in the Dutch Wihm firm of architects.

Plastic island the size of Hawaii

Although the idea is innovative, it is not a first for this Dutch firm of architects. Before Recycled Park it had already worked on the design for a recycled island. To help rid the oceans of the 269,000 tonnes of waste - at least - that ends up there every year, Ramon Knoester came up with the idea of recovering and recycling the material floating in the North Pacific. Between Japan and West Coast of the United States, his idea was to set up floating reprocessing units near the area of the ocean that traps waste in its watery vortex. These units would have been used to produce recycled plastic slabs to form the structure of an island... the size of Hawaii, which is 10,000 km2! And that's not all. To enable 500,000 people to live in a self-sufficient and environmentally friendly way, the Gyro Gearloose of recycled plastic islands even planned spaces dedicated to agriculture and seaweed farming, electricity generated by tidal power, a water supply from rain and desalination, and a system for recycling the organic waste produced by these plastic island Robinson Crusoe farmers. For the Nieuwe Maas project, Ramon Knoester has designed things on a smaller - this river island will be just 150 m2 - but more realistic scale. So with the support of the city of Rotterdam and numerous other partners, the 100% recycled plastic green island could finally become a reality by the end of this year.