Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Different Form of Recycling

Yesterday I went for a ride with my friend, Adrian. Before he left for San Antonio last fall he worked for this guy from England who is here building islands. Islands on an island? What's that all about?

Actually, it's very clever. He bundles up used plastic bottles and uses them as the base for his floating islands. We have been saving our plastic bottles to deliver to him for 4 months now. Finally, some way to recycle! We'll get to the island itself in a minute.

His work space is located about half way out on Sac Bajo. Right next door to one of the new monstrosities being built out there. He's turned a vacant lot on the beach into a cute little work space. Right next to the small parking area is the cooking area. It looks like a really cozy little spot to sit, cook your meal, talk and just enjoy a campfire burning. I couldn't get to close though. He was not there when we visited and had left his guard dog on duty. (you might want to click these the pics in this post for more the snarling dog!)

Here we have the plastic bottles all bagged up and ready to be taken out to the island in process.

The island in process. When completed it will measure 12 meters by 60 meters. There will be a small structure on it for sleeping, a hammock, table and chairs and plants. It is being built as a floating hotel room.

The plastic bottles are used as the flotation device, this is covered with plastic and then sand. Adrian tells me that it is very stable but the whole thing undulates with the action of the waves. I think I would get sea sick on it.
The whole area if filled with assorted tents for the helpers. Some of them are teepees! I think this is a swing for the workers to relax on.

It is so weird there. It is almost like being in some hippy concave in some isolated jungle spot. Until you turn around and see what is right next door.

Here we have an assortment of flowering plants waiting to be transplanted onto the islands. He is planning on building more than one.

He has even built a nursery for other plants using empty plastic bottles. He piles up those bags of bottles, fills the spaces with dirt and supports it with old, discarded palm material used for building palapa roofs.

This is a view of the main tent and kitchen area. Adrian thought the shelf rigged up to hold condiments was just way cool. I think it looks like stuff will fall off with the slightest wind. Maybe hitting somebody on the head.

Another view of the monster being built right next door. Actually, if it wasn't on the island I would probably like this building. It has flowing lines and is pleasant enough to look at. There is a large pool behind it. You can see part of it in the picture. It is big enough to have a swim up bar. From the pool, you can see the little beach and the water. The wood shutters on the sliding doors are attractive enough and a smart idea for hurricanes. Notice the slide down shutters on the smaller windows.

All in all it was a nice experience visiting this little recycling plant. And a clever idea to make floating hotels. I think I will be going back from time to time to see the progress. And to take him more bags of empty bottles.
If you live on the island or if you are visiting here and want to save bottles for him to use, please let me know. Shoot me an email and I will be glad to stop by and pick them up and deliver them to him.
Recycling is unheard of on the island so I am really glad to have the opportunity to lessen the landfills.


Brenda said...

Is this the same fellow whose floating pop bottle island was destroyed by a hurricane a few years ago? I forget his name; but will look for his website and if I find it again will send it to you. Interesting reading.

Brenda said...

Yup, sounds like the same guy. The original was destroyed by Wilma in 2005.
Here is his website:

Brenda said...

Oops, sorry I think I said Wilma destroyed it, I meant Hurricane Emily. Sorry for the brain glitch.

wayne said...

Thanks for doing my research, Brenda. I knew he had a website but since he wasn't there to ask about it, I just ignored that info. The island you mention was moored at Playa Aventuras and was ripped away by Hurricane Emily.

Jonna said...

I remember when Emily took his island. I also saw a post about him recently on Lonely Planet, apparently he gets backpackers to come and stay free at his place and work on the island. Kind of a work-camping, ecological volunteer gig. Interesting. I do want to go and see it when we come over in April.

Heather said...

It's good to see King Richard has reappeared! I've met him several times and he is a really interesting character.