Recycled Plastic Bottles Create a Floating Base for a Home

This article adapted from the The Amicus Journal shares the story of Richard Sowa and his use of recycled plastic bottles to create a floating base for his island home on the Yucatan Peninsula.
By Alan Metrick
December 2000/January 2001
Add to My MSN

Sowa collected 100,000 empty bottles and packed them into fishnets to form the floating base for his new home.
PHOTO: COURTESY THE AMICUS JOURNAL


Content Tools

Related Content

Do You Know Where I Can Purchase Cloth Diapers and Glass Baby Bottles?

Many new parents are choosing old-fashioned glass baby bottles and cloth diapers. Here's where you c...

Climate Change Affects Everyone

This funny video shows you how everyone benefits from recycling.

I Got Off Bottled Water—You Can, Too

Filtering tap water instead of buying plastic bottles helps my family’s carbon footprint—and bottom ...

Recycled Wine Bottles Become ‘Glacier Glass’

The Rolf Glass company is producing Glacier Glass, a new line of beautiful, eco-inspired glassware c...

Richard Sowa made the best of an abundance of plastics by using recycled plastic bottles to build a floating base for his new home. 

What would you do if you were living in a tropical paradise, needed a place to call your own, and were troubled by a proliferation of empty plastic bottles littering an otherwise unspoiled beach?

That was Richard Sowa's situation two years ago. The 46-year-old British artist was living about 60 miles south of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula. Over the next two years, he turned a personal vision into a community activity using recycled plastic bottles as part of his home. Enlisting friends, neighbors and local schoolchildren, Sowa collected 100,000 empty bottles and packed them into fishnets to form the floating base for his new home. Sowa's island now stands — er, floats — at a modest 16 by 14 yards, and is complete with a sand floor and beach, a few palm trees, a one-room shelter and a composting toilet.

Local authorities, who gave the artist permission to build his island as a community project, consider it Mexican soil. Nevertheless, Sowa's plan is to add to the island in ever-growing spirals, until it reaches what he says will be an "oceanworthy" size of about 80 yards across.

He'd like to take it around the world.

—Alan Metrick 

This article has been adapted from an original article in The Amicus Journal, a publication of the National Resources Defense Council. 








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.