Researchers in the city of Rotterdam have transformed plastic waste collected from a river that runs through the city into a floating island park.

Since 2014, The Recycled Island Foundation in collaboration with the WHIM Architecture firm has been at work on the Recycled Park Project, which is a 140-square-meter prototype of a floating island park in Rotterdam’s New Meuse River that is composed of plastic waste.

The team has been collecting waste from the New Meuse River using three netted floating traps strategically placed in locations throughout the river. Once collected and sorted, the plastic waste is then transformed into hexagonal bricks used to construct the foundation of the floating island park. According to the team, it took 28 of the hexagonal building blocks to construct the floating park, which is home to different vegetation and a handful of benches.

The park, which opened to the public in July of 2018, offers both residents and visitors green space amid urban surroundings. It is also meant to serve as a reminder of the issue of marine pollution. Were it not for the three traps, the debris gathered by the collaborators would have floated into the North Sea where clean-up efforts would have been significantly more cumbersome.

Makers of the plastic island intend to add five additional traps in the New Meuse River to gather enough debris to eventually expand the 140-square-meter island to 190 square meters. The team also envisions that their scheme will catch on in other parts of the world.

To see how the floating island park is constructed, watch the accompanying video, which appears courtesy of the Recycled Island Foundation.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com