Daily Life

Plastics become floating park

27. Juli 2018

On July 4th the first Recycled Park opened in the Rotterdam harbor. Floating debris from the rivers and port is retrieved and recycled to create a floating park of 140m2

The aim of this iconic Recycled Park is to illustrate that recycled plastic from the open waters is a valuable material and suitable for recycling

By re-using the retrieved plastics and by producing building blocks with them, the plastics receives new value. As an extra the building blocks create a new green area; Recycled Park. Floating green structures are a plus for the city and have an ecological function in the river as habitat for micro and macro fauna as snails, flatworms, larva, beetles and fish.

Plastic soup
Plastic litter is a structural problem in open waters. Via rivers a large part of the plastics ends up in our seas and oceans, where it becomes part of the worldwide pollution. Initiator Ramon Knoester of the Recycled Island Foundation explains: “The water is in many cities the lowest point, resulting in the unfortunate accumulation of litter in our rivers. 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. Rotterdam can set an example for port cities every where in the world. The realization of the building blocks in recycled plastics is an important step towards a litter free river”.

Litter traps
In Rotterdam the Recycled Island Foundation developed three passive litter traps to efficiently take the plastics from the New Meuse (Nieuwe Maas). During a trail period of 1,5 year the litter traps are tested, monitored and optimized. This resulted in a good working system, that works efficiently even with heavy ship traffic, tidal changes and different wind directions. The Litter traps catch the plastics by using the existing stream of the river en keep the plastics inside even when the direction of the stream turns.

Floating green structures
To stimulate the retrieval of litter the Recycled Island Foundation looked into the potential of re-use and recycling. In collaboration with the Rotterdam municipality we found the potential in floating green structures. In this way we can stimulate the ecology in the Rotterdam harbor. With the recycled plastics we construct hexagon shaped building blocks where on, at and in new vegetation grows. Birds, fish and micro-organism find food, breeding ground and shelter in the floating park. Through the park runs a small canal about half a meter deep; small fish and birds find here shelter and the space to grow before entering the deeper waters.

Images: Courtesy of Recycled Park

Recycled Island Foundation
The Recycled Island Foundation (RIF) is a young organization that was brought to life to find an active approach to the worldwide plastic pollution in open waters. RIF aims at the retrieval of debris in rivers and river mouths, sustainable re-use of plastics, organizing clean ups, creating awareness and education.
Recycled Park is realized with the support of BRG (Existing Rotterdam Territory), Citylab 010, Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), Cargill, Van Der Vorm Real Estate, Audi Environmental Foundation and all the partners that physically contributed to the realization.

Location Recycled Park, Tillemakade 99, 3072 AX Rotterdam


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