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Charity launches world’s first recycled plastic boat

Charity launches world’s first recycled plastic boat

The world’s first boat made from Plaswood, a 100% recycled plastic building product manufactured by RPC bpi recycled products, has been launched from the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre in London to raise awareness of the growing levels of plastic pollution in the UK’s rivers.

Named ‘Poly-Mer’, the 12-seater punt was commissioned by environmental charity Hubbub and built by Mark Edwards MBE – who is famous for building the Queen’s barge, ‘Gloriana’.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP boarded the boat for its maiden voyage, along with school children from nearby Canary Wharf College, and medal-winning British Paralympic sailor Alexandra Rickham. 

Poly-Mer’s build combines the use of modern and ancient materials.  The main component is the state of the art material Plaswood – a high performance lumber made from 100% recycled plastic that is impervious to the influence of water and therefore will not rot, splinter, crack or degrade with age.  Unlike conventional wood, traditionally used in boat building, Plaswood requires no annual maintenance, staining or painting. The Plaswood lumber is held together with copper nails – invented by the Vikings and used in the building of Long Ships over 2,000 years ago.

Mike Baxter, external affairs director, RPC bpi recycled products said: “This project brings the circular economy to life.  Plastic waste in our waterways and seas is a hot topic and we are proud to be involved in Poly-Mer and support the clean-up of plastic waste from our rivers.”

As the market for sustainable and cost-effective materials grows we continue to invest and enlarge our production facilities.  There is increasing demand for second life building products, such as Plaswood, as builders look for a modern, sustainable, maintenance free substitute for traditional building materials such as wood and steel.”

Following Poly-Mer’s launch the vessel will be used for ‘plastic fishing’ trips by local school children as well as being accessible to the public and businesses too.  All the recyclable material collected will be used to build more polymer boats, creating a fleet of litter-collecting punts across the UK.

Trewin Restorick, chief executive and co-founder of Hubbub, said: “We built the ‘Poly-Mer’ to turn part of the problem into a solution and hope it will raise awareness that everyone can play their part to tackle plastic litter closer to home before it travels out to the ocean.”

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