Interface builds boat from 7,000 plastic bottles to tackle ocean pollution

The world's largest carpet tile manufacturer has joined forces with a 'plastic fishing' company to design and create a unique boat made from more than 7,000 plastic bottles fished from the canals of Amsterdam.

The innovative collaboration between Interface and Plastic Whale seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of river and ocean pollution and drive plastic waste elimination from global waters.

Coincidentally, details of the new boat were unveiled in the same week that Sir David Attenborough gave his backing for a plan to fly across America in a plane powered by recyclable waste in a similar awareness-raising effort.

As a component of Interface’s holistic approach to reducing marine waste, the new Plastic Whale boat will be used each day to fish more waste out of the water systems and put a spotlight on the effects of plastic waste. The ultimate Plastic Whale mission is to use some of the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris currently in our waters to create a fleet of plastic fishing boats, repurposing this waste for smarter use.


This initiative follows on from the success of Interface’s pioneering circular economy collaboration project Net-Works, which enables local residents to collect discarded nets and sell them back into a global supply chain, where Interface uses them as key parts of its flooring tiles. To date, Net-Works has removed over 80,000kg of nets from the ocean and coastal areas in the Philippines.

Interface’s chief executive and vice-president of the EMEA region Rob Boogaard said: “Plastic bottles floating in the canals of Amsterdam and fishing nets littering the vast shorelines and beaches of remote fishing communities in the Philippines are just two of many examples that illustrate that plastic waste is a challenge of global proportions.

“As you can see from the success and expansion of our Net-Works programme, Interface has fervently taken on this challenge for several years now.

“Our new partnership with Plastic Whale advances our commitment to play our part even further and hopefully encourages many others to clean up our worlds’ waters and turn waste into value while securing the future of our eco-system.”

Plastics economy

Writing in an exclusive blog for edie last year, Interface Boogaard argued that, despite the concept of a circular economy rapidly becoming widely accepted in the business world, not enough action is being taken to change business models in favour of a zero-waste world.

This latest pioneering effort to tackle plastic waste comes at a time of great concern for the issue. At the start of 2016, the ‘New Plastics Economy’ report produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation revealed that at least eight million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year. The Foundation claims that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

As one of the first companies to publically commit to sustainability and CSR targets, Interface has built a reputation as a company that continually pushes the boundaries to eliminate its impact on the environment. Speaking exclusively to edie last year, the Interface’s chief innovation officer Nigel Stansfield said the firm’s standing as sustainability leader has helped the business attract top-level talent in all areas of the company.

Resource Efficiency at edie Live 2016

How do you ensure your business is protected from scarcity in the supply chain? How do you reduce usage and find ways to reduce your waste outputs at the same time? Who is responsible and how do you effect change on an organisational level?

From specific strategies and solutions to analysis of the broader issues at play, the Resource Efficiency Theatre at edie Live 2016 in May is a must-attend for any business, small or large, seeking to reduce their consumption, minimise their waste outputs and mitigate risk in their supply chains.

Find out more about edie Live 2016 and register to attend for free here.

George Ogleby

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