At least 8 million tonnes of plastic is said to find its way to the ocean every year and 50% of it is used to make disposable products. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, this calls for a Plastic Revolution. That Plastic Revolution is here with a Flipflopi crowdfunding campaign and very ambitious plans.
Ben and Dipesh are travel and tour operators based in Kenya and the UK that mainly organize African experiences. On one of Ben’s expeditions to Zanzibar, he noticed an alarming amount of plastics -mostly flip flops- lining the beaches and as a direct response together with Dipesh and Ali, the Flipflopi project was born.
The project seeks to breach the level of awareness on the ocean plastic waste problem across Africa and developing countries of the Indian ocean. The depth of this problem perhaps evident in flipflopi’s Lamu beach clean-up exercise that collected 33 tonnes of plastic.
The project coins its name from the flip-flop – a universal footwear item estimated to be worn by 3 billion people. This grounds the project as it seeks to tell a global story of PlasticRevolution.
Being that most of the plastic waste found in one place originate from another place i.e. plastics found on the Kenyan coast originate from Thailand, Malaysia, India, China among others, the usual campaigns and educational approaches deployed on areas with the greatest impact are not enough for a sustainable change. Flipflopi seeks to impact that change through recycling.
The Flipflopi boat will endorse the centuries old knowledge of boat making that will see local Swahili craftsmen using traditional dhow building methods. We had the privilege of hosting Leonard Schürg, the design engineer of the Flipflopi expedition at our recently concluded Nairobi Design Week 2018 and got to hear the intricacies of the project and witnessed first hand the remarkable recycled flipflops at the Future of Design exhibition. You can see his Pechakucha presentation here.
The build starts with the collection of waste plastics that will be done through beach clean ups organized by schools, tourism businesses, conservation organizations and the community. About 60 tonnes of recycled plastic will be used to construct the entire boat: the keel, ribs and structure elements as well as the hull and deck.
The dhow will sail over 5,000km from Lamu to Cape Town when it is completed, then aiming to sail to every corner of the world to spread awareness of plastic pollution.
You can take part in the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and be a part of the #PlasticRevolution. The campaign has raised $1,870 from 55 backers at time of writing, and has a flexible goal of $250,000, aiming for 10,000 backers. We would love to see them offering more perks, we’re sure there would be backers keen to get involved at higher levels too.
We will be tracking the project’s progress keenly and keeping you updated.