So you think you know how to upcycle? Well one man, Raishee Sowa, took upcycling up a notch and created the self-sufficient Spiral Island. The island floats off the beaches of Quintana Roo Mexico and is held afloat by recycled bottles. Raishee (former carpenter, musician, artist) collected the bottles locally by hand around Cancun until he had enough to begin construction of his personal paradise. By binding them into bundles using old fish nets and placing bamboo and salvaged plywood over the top to make a surface, Raishee then began piling sand atop from the shore. The 250,000 or so plastic bottles and over three years work now support an island roughly the size of a basketball court, although he is constantly upgrading with hopes of floating out to sea and living in his own “country.”
Reishee has planted mangroves for shade and for sustenance he has added such vegetation as bananas, tomatoes, almonds, lemons, and palm trees of course. The repurposing doesn’t end there, he also fashioned a washing machine out of an old drum that rolls in the waves, he collects rain for fresh water, and has constructed a solar cooker for his meals. Not only is this a great story that sparks the imagination the lessons Reishee has taught us about the ability to create useful, unique, and sturdy living alternatives from the discarded objects around us is amazing. To be a self-sufficient entity (let alone on your hand made island!) takes diligence, care, and effort. However, with some thought and patience the simplest effort to reuse and repurpose can go along way.