The Plastiki isn't just raising awareness of marine debris, it's also helping to publicize, and commercialize, a new composite sheet made out of recycled PET. The Plastiki -- the boat made out of PET soda bottles that David de Rothschild is sailing from San Francisco to Australia -- managed to get a plug today for the composite sheet product. The plug came from The New York Times Green blog. Blogger Sindya N. Bhanoo writes that "after 38 continuous days at sea, the crew anchored at Christmas Island on April 27 for a few days' rest before the next leg, a 20- to 30-day voyage to Fiji." While the crew is in port, he traded emails with skipper Jo Royle, and put together a Q&A interview for the blog. The plug? It comes in Royle's answer to this question: "Did you have any harrowing moments in those 38 days sailing the Pacific?"
We have arrived after sailing for nearly 40 days across some of the most remote ocean in the world with no visual fatigue in the super structure of the Plastiki. This is a great achievement for the project and proves that Seretex -- a fully recyclable self reinforced PET [polyethylene terephthalate] -- is a smart material to replace the use of more toxic and less recyclable plastics used to manufacture anything from garden furniture to bus stops to the interior of cars. The Plastiki is the first product to be built from Seretex.Seretex didn't ring a bell with me, so I did some checking. This web site describes it as Seretex srPET, short for self reinforced PET, "a revolutionary product that will change the way we build composite structures. This replacement for typical fiberglass/epoxy products is much safer and easier to work with. It can be made from 100% recycled content and can then be recycled again at the end of it's life. Your next tennis racket or pair of skis might be derived from drink bottles and when you are done with them recycled again into a jacket or sweater. This is the future, be part of it." This earlier Plastics Blog post included a video that featured the Seretex material, although the story doesn't mention the material by name. The material is created by taking a polyester fabric made from recycled PET, applying heat and pressure, to create a rigid board. I'm sure we'll hear more about Seretex after the Plastiki completes its voyage to Australia. Interesting that SmarterPlanet LLC is apparently using this eco-focused voyage to prove the durability of a recycled-content product.