A floating park made entirely from recycled plastic waste sits atop the Mass River in Rotterdam. An initiative of the Recycled Island Foundation, the park aims to trap toxic plastic from the river and create greater environmental awareness.
In Rotterdam, the recycled island foundation has retrieved debris from the city’s rivers and port to create a prototype floating park, which is now open to visitors. Aiming to illustrate that recycled plastic from the open waters is a valuable material, the 140 square metre floating landscape, comprises of a series of hexagonal blocks made entirely from recycled plastic waste. In additional to making a positive impact on the environment, the park is beneficial for the river’s ecosystem, as they offer a habitat for micro and macro fauna including snails, flatworms, beetles and fish.
The Recycled Island Foundation is a young organisation whose aim is the retrieval of debris found in rivers and river mouths, and the sustainable reuse of these plastics, illustrated in Rotterdam’s prototype Floating Park.
“When we retrieve the plastics directly in our cities and ports, we actively prevent the further growth of the plastic soup in our seas and oceans,” explained the foundation’s initiator, Ramon Knoester. “The realisation of the building blocks in recycled plastics is an important step towards a litter free river.”
In order to collect debris, the foundation developed three passive litter traps, which were tested, monitored and optimised for a trial period of 18 months. The litter traps are able to capture plastics by using the existing stream of the river and keeping them trapped, even when the direction of the stream changes. The recycled plastic blocks that make up the Recycled Park will serve as a habitat for micro and macro fauna above and below the waterline.
In collaboration with the Rotterdam Municipality, the foundation has developed the floating green structures to stimulate a mentality of ecology in the city’s harbour. New vegetation can grow on the hexagonal-shaped building blocks, while birds, fish and micro-organisms find food, breeding grounds and shelter in the floating park.