Fishing for Plastics

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Leave it to some crazy Dutchman to turn recycling into a fun boating experience.

In 2011, Dutchman Marius Smit saw a plethora of plastic bottles floating around in Amsterdam’s canals. So, he decided that the floating plastic waste should be turned into boats.

He formed a company, Plastic Whale, and got Starbucks to pay for its own employees to go plastic fishing. Within three years, Plastic Whale debuted its first boat made from Amsterdam canal plastic at HISWA, Holland’s national boat show. In 2017, Plastic Whale also started recycling the canal plastic into modern furniture, lamps and acoustic panels.

Now, eight years after Smit spawned the idea, 20,000 people and 400 companies, among them Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and ING Bank, have gone plastic fishing with Plastic Whale. Today, the company runs nine boats made out of canal plastic in Amsterdam and two more in Rotterdam. The fishing is done by schoolkids, volunteers and corporate employees using hand nets. To make it an even more enjoyable experience, the adults can also opt to have a wine and cheese party while fishing for plastic.

This video explains how it all works.