On 15th September 2018, The Flipflopi Project launched the world’s first flip-flop boat (made entirely of recycled marine plastic and flip-flops) into the Indian Ocean in efforts to send a global message against the single use of plastic.
The Flipflopi Project project uses thousands of repurposed flip-flops and plastics that were washed off on the beach during clean-up along the Kenyan Coast and calls for a #PlasticRevolution. Its ambition is to see a non-plastic world – a world without a single use of plastic. To help achieve this, it is working to raise awareness of the dangers of the single-use culture of plastics that is a rising plague on Earth. It is estimated that more than 12M tonnes of plastic are dumped on the sea every year rather than being repurposed.
“The Flipflopi Project has always been about encouraging change in a positive way, making people smile first and then sharing the very simple message that single-use plastics really don’t make sense,” commented Ben Morison, Founder of the Flipflopi Project. “To create the Flipflopi boat we used locally available resources and low-tech solutions, enabling our techniques and ideas to be copied without any barriers. So we hope people around the globe are inspired by our beautiful multicoloured boat and find their own ways to repurpose ‘already-used’ plastics.”
To highlight the potential of re-using plastic, the team has built an incredible 9-metre sailing dhow from over 10 tonnes of collected plastic waste which was launched in the water off Lamu, along the Kenyan coast, on 15th September. With no precedents to learn from, the Flipflopi project team, led by inspirational Lamu boat builder Ali Skanda, have had to develop pioneering techniques at every stage in order to craft the various components of the boat.
Limiting themselves to locally available technology and materials – they have collected discarded plastic, shredded it into small pieces, then heated it and remoulded it. The resulting plastic parts have been carved by Ali and his team of traditional dhow boat builders exactly as they would do wood. Every single element of the boat has been painstakingly constructed by hand and the whole boat has been clad in colourful sheets of recycled flipflops which have been collected during Lamu’s beach cleanups, where they are among the most prolific items found.
Once sea trials have been completed the Flipflopi team will embark on a groundbreaking 5,000km expedition from Lamu to Zanzibar, Tanzania and end their journey in Cape Town, South Africa. They shall set off early 2019 as they visit schools, communities and government officials along the way sharing solutions and changing mindsets along the way.