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Recycled Island  (Source: Recycled Island Project)

Living quarters on the island  (Source: Recycled Island Project)

The island's "fertile ground" made of seaweed and human manure fertilizer.  (Source: Recycled Island Project)

A seaweed farm bordering the island  (Source: Recycled Island Project)
Island nation would give recycling a whole new meaning

Located between Hawaii and San Francisco, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating column composed largely of particulate plastic residues that may cover an area twice the size of Texas.  Exact determination of size is difficult, due to the inability to image the area with satellite imagery (the particulate polymeric residues which saturate the water are not visible via satellite).

Even as "trash patches" pop up in other oceans, The Netherlands Architecture Fund has dreamed up a wild idea to transform this "dirty" patch into a green paradise.  Under its plan, engineers would build "Recycle Island", a floating island nation, from polymers both from the shore and from those harvest from the water.  The WHIM architecture firm is collaborating on the project, looking at how an urban paradise could be constructed in the unusual location.

The project has three primary goals.  The first is to create on-site recycling of the particles of plastic floating in the water.  That would help with the second goal, which would be to establish a stable and seaworthy island.  Lastly, the island is to be self-sufficient with its own sustainable food and energy sources.

Under the plan, the island would cover 10,000 km
2, roughly the size of Hawaii’s main island.  The island would be its own nation, with its own laws.  It would sustain agriculture, in part, from "fertile ground" formed from compost toilets.  The project founders say it would be an ideal home for "climate refugees".

Ideas floated for power include solar, wave, and wind energies.  Seaweed would be farmed for fertilizer, food, fish farm feed, biofuel, CO2 capture, and medicine.  Chemicals like ammonia, nitrate, phosphate would be harvested from the water in the trash patch.

The project is starting out small, currently looking to gather samples of the water/plastic mix in the garbage patch.  Its organizers are reaching out to recruit chemists and engineers to help figure out the ideal way to recycle the slew into usable material for their envisioned island paradise.

The idea is outlandish and at this point seems unlikely (if merely for economic reasons), but it does seem a charmingly futurist vision.  The full project plan can be found here.

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RE: Awesome!
By Cygni on 7/15/2010 12:59:44 PM , Rating: -1
Well, considering most americans are for environmental reforms, maybe you should be the one to leave. :) Just sayin'...

RE: Awesome!
By bradmshannon on 7/15/2010 1:00:35 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not for environmental reforms that ruin the economy and make everyone's lives miserable. The environmentalists that I speak of are for such things.

RE: Awesome!
By FITCamaro on 7/15/2010 1:54:06 PM , Rating: 4
Most Americans are for things that save them money or improve their lives. Cap and trade doesn't do either. Buying a $1000 washing machine to save $50 a year on their water and electric bill doesn't. Wind and solar power don't. Electric cars don't. Etc.

People don't mind recycling if its made easy. The same environmentalists who want to build this island have stopped the expansion of nuclear power.

RE: Awesome!
By lelias2k on 7/15/2010 7:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, if it was up to you we'd still be driving 70's muscle cars getting a whooping 15mpg and with a whole bunch of pollution coming out of their exhaust pipes.

Extremists, on both ends, are necessary so we can reach a compromise in the middle.

RE: Awesome!
By Jeffk464 on 7/16/2010 10:31:16 AM , Rating: 2
From what I have heard a lot of the old muscle cars didn't get poor mileage. They had high octane fuel(made possible by lead) which allowed them to boost compression ratios, which gives you better mileage. All this for the small cost of causing minor(probably) brain damage to a generation of kids.

RE: Awesome!
By FITCamaro on 7/16/2010 1:01:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not hardly. I believe i letting auto manufacturers build cars people want to buy. The most popular vehicle in America, the F150, gets 15 mpg though. I'm fine with basic pollution controls. But when the government is controlling how a car is built down to forcing manufacturers to include tire pressure sensors because people are to lazy to check it on their own, its gone to far. But the hybrids wouldn't be getting tax breaks that's for sure.

If I have the money to drive a gas guzzler, that's my business, not the governments. And a company should only stop offering one when it doesn't make financial sense to. Not because the government told them it doesn't their approval through incredibly high mileage standards.

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