The Plastiki Expedition is the brainchild of David de Rothschild, and the goal is audacious: to sail 12,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Sydney in a boat made entirely out of plastic bottles and recycled waste products. They plan to embark in April, carrying (among others) four scientists from the Scripps Research Institute who will study ocean acidification, marine debris, overfishing, and coral bleaching.
[Update: Read Tim Hurst's interview with Plastiki expedition leader David de Rothschild at ecopolitology, just days before the boat landed in Sydney on July 26. -Ed.]
De Rothschild and his crew of scientists will be sailing through the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating man-made disaster twice the size of Texas, located between California and Hawaii. The aim is raising the world's awareness of the plight of the environment and our role in it.
"It is our aim to captivate, inspire and activate tomorrow's environmental thinkers and doers to take positive action for our Planet and to be smart with waste, ultimately we hope to inspire people to rethink waste as a valuable resource. One person's waste could be another person's treasure."
And how green is the boat? Their craft is a catamaran made from 20,000 plastic bottles injected with CO2 packed it into pontoons. The pontoons are strapped to a rigid plastic tube running the length of the hull, and they've assembled the whole thing without glues or resins, so when the trip is over, the entire boat is recyclable.
For more details, and to sign up to receive updates on the expedition, see the Adventure Ecology Plastiki page.