The Life of a Plastic Water Bottle

By Peter S. Green - 2012-10-02T21:18:26Z

Photograph by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

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Plastiki Sails the World

The Plastiki is a 60-foot catamaran made from 12,500 plastic bottles. British environmentalist David de Rothschild arrived in Sydney harbor on June 26, 2010, after a 12,860-kilometer (8,000-mile) journey from San Francisco.

The boat's name is a play on Kon-Tiki, the ship that Norwegian writer Thor Heyerdahl built and sailed from Peru to the Polynesian islands in 1947.

Plastiki's journey took the ship through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre of floating plastic waste twice the size of Texas, in the northern Pacific Ocean. Millions of indestructible polystyrene bottle caps circulate slowly, indefinitely, their sun-bleached reds, blues, greens and pinks the visible representation of human propensity for waste.

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