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Sea Chair Project Harvests Plastic From the Oceans To Create Furniture

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the have-a-seat dept.

Earth 96

cylonlover writes "You may have heard about the huge floating islands of garbage swirling around in the middle of the Earth's oceans. Much of that waterlogged rubbish is made up of plastic and, like Electrolux with its concept vacuum cleaners, U.K.-based Studio Swine and Kieren Jones are looking to put that waste to good use. As part of an ambitious project, they've come up with a system to collect plastic debris and convert it into furniture. Rather than collecting plastic that washes ashore or is snagged as by-catch in fishing nets, the team hopes to one day go where the trash is, collect and convert it to something useful while still at sea. Sea Chair envisions adapting fishing boats into floating chair factories that trawl for plastic and put it into production on-board."

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Great idea. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41090463)

But how much will it cost to harvest the plastic from the ocean rather than creating it from scratch, whether it be from oil or other sources? (I seem to remember that PET can now be produced from corn by-products, not just oil.) I'm tipping that the balance of cost will not be in favour of this idea for a considerable time, no matter how necessary cleaning up our act may be.

There may be a market for selling these to people who have an environmental conscience, but I would be surprised - albeit very pleased - if it were big enough to sustain a company.

Re:Great idea. (2, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090557)

Not to mention the fuel emissions from going out and doing the collection, or even the current system of driving around and collecting by-catch, than sorting and processing the material into furniture. Unless it's a lot more feasible than I suspect I have a hunch this project will do more harm than good for the environment.

Re:Great idea. (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41091957)

Not to mention the fuel emissions from going out and doing the collection

 
There might be a more fuel efficient way to collect those jetsam and floatsam -
 
Setting up garbage traps where sea currents flow, and collecting the jetsam / floatsam as they are flowing nearby
 
While this method is far from perfect - the set up for such device is a no-brainer
 
But there is one very important thing TFA has not mentioned - many of the plastic garbage that end up in the sea do NOT float - they sunk, and end up littering pristine ocean floor, even the Mariana Trench has been polluted
 

Re:Great idea. (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about 2 years ago | (#41095463)

Yeah about the trench.. Sorry about that guys, the garbage can on my 60' yacht was full.. My bad.

Re:Great idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41097365)

+1 depressing.

Re:Great idea. (2)

frostfreek (647009) | about 2 years ago | (#41093523)

Maybe they could use a great big catamaran, primarily powered by the wind!

Re:Great idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093643)

The catamaran should have a ruggedly handsome yet boyish skipper with gills!

Re:Great idea. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41090689)

Why the fuck do people always link back to slashdot stories instead of the actual articles? Do these people think they'll be looked on as the uber nerd instead of just idiots who couldn't be considerate enough to link to a real article because they thought think they look cool if they can remember every slashdot article they ever read?

Re:Great idea. (4, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#41091831)

Why the fuck do people always link back to slashdot stories instead of the actual articles?

Maybe, so that people get to see the comments too?

Re:Great idea. (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41091507)

But how much will it cost to harvest the plastic from the ocean rather than creating it from scratch

Despite all the hype - there are no 'islands' of plastic garbage, just areas of the ocean with a few extra tenths of a gram of microscopic bits of plastic per cubic meter. This suggests that it will be very expensive indeed to collect and recycle the plastic.

Re:Great idea. (2)

moeinvt (851793) | about 2 years ago | (#41095711)

"there are no 'islands' of plastic garbage"

Not 'islands' in the sense that you could walk across them.

There are however vast areas where you can sail and see dozens of pieces of floating garbage in whichever direction you look.

Re:Great idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41102671)

There are however vast areas where you can sail and see dozens of pieces of floating garbage in whichever direction you look.

Where is that? Boston harbor? Researchers in the North Pacific Gyre only found a few pieces of debris, and microscopic bits of plastic in the water. Let's see... 5.1 kg/km2 [wikipedia.org] -- how many kilograms are needed for a chair?

Re:Great idea. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41097487)

just areas of the ocean

'areas' ? from wikipedia : Estimates of size range from 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) to more than 15,000,000 square kilometres.

few extra tenths of a gram of microscopic bits of plastic per cubic meter.

that would 'only' amount to tens to hundreds of million of tons.

very expensive indeed? wasn't it for the FACT that all sorts of bad stuff : POP's, DDT, PAH, PCB ... are now in the food chain. that's BAD.

Re:Great idea. (2, Insightful)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41091951)

It would be better if the people in US learned to recycle.

Yeah. Troll. Whatever. Over here in Sweden waaaay more gets recycled than over there.

Re:Great idea. (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about 2 years ago | (#41095637)

Too many people think recycling is some kind of commie plot over here, first we'll be *forced* to recycle, next we're *forced* to live where we're told, and *forced* to do the job we're told, then *forced* to stab every third neighbor and live on rationing...

Recycling is seen as somehow work different than just not littering by people here.. Don't know why, the counties that have done away with garbage altogether and gone to just everything being picked up and sent to recycling have seen profits from the raw materials that pays for the recycling process plus having extra for some of the dumps where the sifted out actual garbage goes.

Re:Great idea. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#41092867)

It's a mediocre idea. The reason is that these chairs will be floating out in the ocean one day. It's like that one company that does a single run of kitsch products made from used target bags or whatever (for target) like wallets and raincoats and stuff. Cute, but won't make any real dent. Plus the recollection effort itself will burn lots of fuel.

Years ago, in Germany, I saw a demonstration of a machine that took plastic and made it back into petroleum or a type of diesel fuel, to be more specific. Idk whatever came out of that, but that would be the real answer. Make plastic as valuable to recycle as metal. Then almost none of it will be accidentally floating in the ocean.

Re:Great idea. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41093487)

Stuff that floats in the ocean is, presumably, stuff that fell of the ships. Throwing stuff into the water onshore isn't a good way of disposing floating things. Usually they wind up back on the same shore, a few miles to the side.

Re:Great idea. (2)

DickBreath (207180) | about 2 years ago | (#41093419)

Who cares how much it will cost? Steve Ballmer will be thrilled at the news of an unlimited supply of chairs, and lightweight chairs at that.

Re:Great idea. (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41093627)

(I seem to remember that PET can now be produced from corn by-products, not just oil.)

Virtually all corn in the USA is grown by big ag, which grows it continuously and almost exclusively GMO, meaning without crop rotation or fallow time and using metric fuckloads of chemicals bought from Monsanto which have been proven to cause a broad range of ills. There is nothing good about finding new ways to use more corn byproducts. We should be producing less of them. The same is true of milk; we produce vastly more milk than we need due to rBGH, and consequently we have become geniuses of finding new things to do with milk. Unfortunately, making it into paint isn't one of those things, in spite of the fact that milk paint is non-toxic and has excellent durability. Unfortunately, it doesn't keep, so it's hard to sell; presumably nobody has figured out powdered milk paint yet. Instead we make it into gum.

Next environmental issue: plastics fishing bycatch (5, Funny)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090477)

In 20 years, we'll be looking for dolphin-safe plastic items, and lamenting the number of seabirds that're killed as by-catch from the oceanic plastics harvesting industry. Concern will be raised about the waste disposal practices of on-board plastics recycling, but nobody will do anything about it because it happens in international waters.

Sometimes you just can't win.

International Waters, Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093305)

Don't worry, China will build a city on the island of plastic bags and claim the territory.

Re:Next environmental issue: plastics fishing byca (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41099533)

the number of seabirds that're killed as by-catch from the oceanic plastics harvesting industry.

What by-catch? Once the plastics become too expensive, it will be economical to catch the birds on purpose and slice them open to get to the precious plastics in their stomachs. The ecological plastics manufacturing ships will be ecologically powered by biomass-burning Stirling engines. And the birds' biomass will do just fine.

Re:Next environmental issue: plastics fishing byca (1)

davewoods (2450314) | more than 2 years ago | (#41112977)

Yeah... I would watch that movie.

I see a problem... (4, Interesting)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090509)

There is an online documentary on the 'floating garbage islands' somewhere. Not really islands. Just lots of little itty bits of plastic spread over a huuuuge area.

Since the plastic debris is spread thinly over a large large area, you'd need to blow through a fair bit of fuel to collect sufficient amounts of plastic to make a chair.

Doable? yes.
Economical? No.

Unless you could do this with a sailing boat, or a solar powered boat...and from the article...that boat doesn't look like either.

Re:I see a problem... (5, Insightful)

dcrisp (267918) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090571)

In fact the little pieces of plastic are apparently microscopic pieces of plastic suspended in the entire water column over a vast area of ocean.
The author, from the documentary above, mentioned that he (she?) travelled to the alleged area to see the plastic and then learnt about the lack of visible suspended solids AND the problem with the local sea life drinking the water and filtering the plastic particles into their own systems.

Re:I see a problem... (3, Interesting)

leftover (210560) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090591)

Even worse, as I have read, the plastic bits are dispersed in a huge volume. Roughly one bit per cubic meter to depths in tens of meters.

Also, the amounts of plastic debris are not increasing because tiny crustaceans are drilling tunnels into the plastic and feasting on the rich carbs, safe inside their tough little homes.

Re:I see a problem... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090769)

So....there is no problem at all with the plastic?

Re:I see a problem... (1)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090981)

No doubt there is. You have no control over quality, and you'll probably end up scooping up huge amounts of other crap as well...
As you float in the middle of the ocean, miles from anywhere, what are you going to do with the non-plastic bits? Tip them overboard?

Re:I see a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41092243)

Don't forget that these little pieces of plastic might be the equivalent of asbestos to gills in various sealife. So it could range from immediately injuring or killing sealife to causing long term problems down the road. Determining whether this is a temporary problem for a generation or two, or a 'life altering' problem for species as a whole only time and research will decide.

Re:I see a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41090909)

That must also utterly and totally destroy these silly notions of space mining.

Re:I see a problem... (2)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 2 years ago | (#41091013)

No.

Some of the asteroids are valued at several billions of dollars each. They contain resources that our industries need. The trick is; how can I economically reach that concentrated valuable stuff floating in space AND get it back to earth? (The answer involves robots...)

Contrast with itty bitty teensie weensie little bits of worthless plastic floating in non-concentrated form in big big ocean...which you want to use to make rather ugly plastic chairs...

Re:I see a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41091517)

Sea chairs are more viable. No industry will pay more for space minerals, but some people will pay more to help the environment.

Re:I see a problem... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#41093525)

Their "value" is only true when they are still, you know, asteroids. If they ended up safely on Earth, they'd shake up the markets so that the valuable stuff wouldn't be so valuable anymore. Unless DeBeers monopolizes the business, that is. Diamonds are comparatively cheap to mine and plentiful...

Re:I see a problem... (4, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#41091173)

It depends on the density. I saw samples being taken that had a shocking amount of plastic not counting larger items. A fairly small small net pulled in what looked like a soup of plastic so I can see this as being practical especially if you can get some of the larger polluting nations to contribute to the clean up. The chairs will sell as a premium green item and you're forgetting the cost of plastic stock which takes a huge amount of oil to produce. FYI the ship could be fueled by the plastic. These machines could produce all the diesel they need from the plastic so the cost is mostly in the initial set up. http://www.blest.co.jp/seihin-english.html [blest.co.jp] Something needs to be done because it's seriously affecting sea life. If all you care about is sushi then it would be worth some investment by the affected countries. A dozen ships could make a real dent in the waste. We created the problem and it's time we took some responsibility for the mess.

Re:I see a problem... (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | more than 2 years ago | (#41115345)

Yes it depends on the density...

Important: it also depends on the density of life that is disrupted
by any cleanup. The larger visible bits are not a big problem
beyond the jelly fish look alike plastic bags that turtles ingest.

If anyone cared enough a sail assisted ship or two could tow a
modest mesh screen and fill a barge with bits that could
be compressed, dewatered and perhaps recycled or sunk
into the abyss.

The problem is that such a skimmer would collect 90+% living
critters to the small percentage of plastic.

The region is full of sea weed and other animal+vegetable
life. To some degree the floating big bits provide habitat
that enhances the ecology.

Of interest is the recent pumice islands in the
pacific that went undetected for so long and
still has a best guess only source.

Re:I see a problem... (1)

root_42 (103434) | about 2 years ago | (#41091473)

After looking at the article, I would say this project is rather to get our attention to the garbage patch problem. Their solution, while maybe infeasible and ecologically unsound, is intriguing at the same time. Point is, there needs to be done something about the great garbage patch, and while the proposed idea might not be the solution, it is at least an idea that deals with the problem. Now let's throw in some more, and solve this thing!

Re:I see a problem... (2)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#41091965)

Solution: Don't let plastic enter the sea (and preferably anything.)

Re:I see a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41094671)

Here is a documentary about it. The problem is, the plastic that is most harmful has broken down into sludge, not solid pieces like in the OP.
http://videosift.com/video/Toxic-Garbage-Island-Vice-TV

Wasted Fuel (1)

alexmin (938677) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090521)

Seems like turning diesel spent on this "fishing" into chairs would be both more economical and environmentally friendly. I suspect the real reason to fish plastic is to enjoy sailing in warm waters on someone else's dime.

Re:Wasted Fuel (4, Insightful)

multiben (1916126) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090549)

Or maybe you could consider the benefit of removing shitloads of crap from the ocean.

Re:Wasted Fuel (1)

FridgeFreezer (1352537) | about 2 years ago | (#41091761)

Are you sure it's not craploads of shit? Whatever it is, there's a fuckton of it.

Re:Wasted Fuel (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090577)

You do know that plastics are made from scratch with petroleum, right?

Re:Wasted Fuel (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090749)

That's precisely what the GP states... Take the petroleum that would be used for fueling the fishing boats, and just directly turn it into chairs, bypassing the harvesting plastic from the ocean part.

Re:Wasted Fuel (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41092297)

You do know that petroleum won't last forever, right? Yeah you can make plastics from other sources too, but not as cheaply as from oil.

Re:Wasted Fuel (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090975)

Interesting point I hadn't considered. What is the ratio of (land-made product) vs (fueled sea-voyage + manufacturing) per petroleum used? I do know a surprisingly large amount of fuel is required for a fishing voyage, and only more would be required to operate manufacturing machinery in addition. But the ocean is a planetary keystone too; so do we not need to directly confront the pollution that already exists? I wonder if it's even a choice. Perhaps the amount of petroleum used could be less relevant if used more responsibly and toward a tangible need? To be recklessly direct, what I am presently fantasizing about is using an aircraft-carrier for something other than bullshit and instead, for something like repairing the seas. I can't resist imagining the many billions spent on black-hole war-fetishes redirected to a better world. But I guess we'd all have chopsticks in our backs if we dared; or would we?.

Re:Wasted Fuel (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41093663)

It would be a neat thing to do with decommissioned nuclear aircraft carriers. Presumably you'd have to maintain a military presence on them, though, so it's the kind of thing a nation would have to do.

Land Lubbers (2)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090597)

Land lubbers needed too: Kamilo Beach [wikipedia.org] ?
It does seem like a fantastic, if not long overdue idea. Count me in if volunteers are needed.

Plastic? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090607)

Doesn't sound very... Comfy!

Why dont they just make the plastic out of... (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090631)

The same crap that cheap lawn chairs of made of, 1 year exposed to the elements and it crumbles into powder ... why do we need million year plastics to hold beer cans?

The problem is the lawn chairs (2)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 2 years ago | (#41091115)

Sadly, much of the problem is the plastic granules, powder and fragments that UV-degraded plastics (like those lawn chairs) break down into.

Big chunks are a problem, but a huge part of the issue in the great pacific midden [wikipedia.org] is tiny particles and fragments that've been eroded by agitation and broken down by UV until - for many animals - they're indistinguishable from food. They get into little filter feeding critters, they collect in the guts of larger creatures, and they just don't go away.

Becoming too small for us to see and deal with doesn't make that waste go away, it just makes it even harder to deal with.

Re:The problem is the lawn chairs (2)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#41092191)

Sadly, much of the problem is the plastic granules, powder and fragments that UV-degraded plastics (like those lawn chairs) break down into.

Big chunks are a problem, but a huge part of the issue in the great pacific midden [wikipedia.org] is tiny particles and fragments that've been eroded by agitation and broken down by UV until - for many animals - they're indistinguishable from food. They get into little filter feeding critters, they collect in the guts of larger creatures, and they just don't go away.

Becoming too small for us to see and deal with doesn't make that waste go away, it just makes it even harder to deal with.

In addition to the ongoing ecological damage, there's a possibility that we may come to rely on that plastic, as the value of both it and petroleum increase. The recovery of plastic in the form of microscopic particulates is likely going to be expensive and environmentally disruptive, akin to mining other (not-necessarily-rare) rare-earth materials.

Re:Why dont they just make the plastic out of... (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41091175)

The same crap that cheap lawn chairs of made of, 1 year exposed to the elements and it crumbles into powder ... why do we need million year plastics to hold beer cans?

Plastics are a cocktail of chemicals.
One of the most important ingredients are UV stabilizers.
This single ingredient more or less dictates the functional lifespan of any plastic that is exposed to sunlight.
Once that UV stabilizer is consumed, UV will break down the plastic until its structural integrity fails.

The industry is working on "biodegradable" plastic, but the term comes with so many asterisks that it's almost meaningless.
In the short term, petroleum based plastics do not biodegrade, they degrade.
"Biodegradable" petroleum plastics just degrade faster.

After that, it's up to the micro-organisms in the environment to break the plastic down.
And if the plastic is in a non-ideal environment, it'll hang around longer.
Land fills are especially bad environments for plastics to degrade in.

/Bioplastics are a while nother story and, while better for the environment, are not a mature technology yet

Re:Why dont they just make the plastic out of... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41093531)

Landfills are a great place for storing plastic. A lot of "recycling" has wound up landfilled, but it gets sorted first, which means it'll be relatively cheap and easy to mine it later.

Re:Why dont they just make the plastic out of... (2)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | about 2 years ago | (#41093431)

...and why do cheap plastics have to be used in things that are supposed to last? Hell...I have a couple of cheap plastic garbage cans that were given to us...they were purchased at Walmart...which have all but totally disintegrated in a matter of years. They're not recyclable either. I also have an old Rubbermaid plastic garbage can that's been in the same condition for decades. Given that Rubbermaid was put out of business by Walmart's refusal to agree to a necessary price hike, I've always seen those garbage cans as a good microcosm of everything that's wrong these days...

What about finding it? (1)

Techmeology (1426095) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090633)

Fuel economy issues aside, how do they plan to find these islands of plastic if they're in the middle of the ocean? A quick peak at Google Earth would suggest that the overwhelming majority of ocean is... well.... water, and it clearly isn't practical to meander around an entire ocean looking for something without a clue as to its location.

Re:What about finding it? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41090703)

The current plan is to track the discarded floatilla of Windows phones along their migratory path toward plastic island

Re:What about finding it? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#41091361)

Fuel economy issues aside, how do they plan to find these islands of plastic if they're in the middle of the ocean?

Why, that's not hard. They wait for the guys in the first TFS link to finish building their plastic island, then go there and do their chairs from it.

Re:What about finding it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41092165)

A quick peak at Google Earth

Just a grammar nazi. It's peek, not peak.

Re:What about finding it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093011)

Fuel economy issues aside, how do they plan to find these islands of plastic if they're in the middle of the ocean? A quick peak at Google Earth would suggest that the overwhelming majority of ocean is... well.... water, and it clearly isn't practical to meander around an entire ocean looking for something without a clue as to its location.

http://www.amazon.com/Moby-Duck-Beachcombers-Oceanographers-Environmentalists-Including/dp/0670022195
Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year
A revelatory tale of science, adventure, and modern myth.

When the writer Donovan Hohn heard of the mysterious loss of thousands of bath toys at sea, he figured he would interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, and read up on Arctic science and geography. But questions can be like ocean currents: wade in too far, and they carry you away. Hohn's accidental odyssey pulls him into the secretive world of shipping conglomerates, the daring work of Arctic researchers, the lunatic risks of maverick sailors, and the shadowy world of Chinese toy factories.

Can they come to Hong Kong? (3, Informative)

jsse (254124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090639)

After a cargo accident, millions of tiny white plastic pellets have been washing up on the Hong Kong's shores [wsj.com] . No authority, no government cares. Civilians voluntarily organize cleaning up activities every weekend and the situation is still catastrophic. Uncountable fishes have their stomachs stuffed with plastic pellets, but Hong Kong Government still insists that those fishes are harmless and safe to eat. Those fishes are dying of staving because they couldn't take any more real food, and the Government only cares about whether it is safe to eat them.

Sadly, environmental disasters effect everyone in the same planet but they would hardly raise mass concern.

Re:Can they come to Hong Kong? (3, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 2 years ago | (#41091461)

You say:

No authority, no government cares.

But your linked article says:

By Sunday night, the government said that it has already collected half of the plastic pellets that had been spilled, including 50 tons of pellets in sacks that were scooped up from the water. The government said the clean-up effort is still continuing.

“This is an ongoing process,” secretary for the environment Wong Kam-sing told reporters on Sunday, pledging to stay attentive as the situation continues to develop.

In the meantime, environmental groups praised the government for its swift response to the spill,

Re:Can they come to Hong Kong? (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 2 years ago | (#41104821)

This is just a political show. You can see from the pictures, those picking up plastics are civilians, not any government official. WSJ is like millions other media wanting to please local governments with mild reporting, but this is the best English source I could find. Local news has much better insight on that.

The HK Government responded AFTER a month of media coverages and civilians' volunteering activities. When reporters questioned the number collected, the officials immediate revised the number to "collected some of the plastic pellets that has been spilled", and explained that the revision is due to including sands into the calculation of weight (if that is not intentional deceiving I don't know what is). Nevertheless, reporters' request to check the pellets collected were denied because they have already been "disposed of".

Well none that anybody would concern anymore but I just wish you to know.

Re:Can they come to Hong Kong? (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#41091883)

I just had to look it up, and amazingly, it's not a spelling mistake as long as they are different species [yahoo.com] . Probably not intended by the author, but enough to protect him from grand ma's brownshirts.

Re:Can they come to Hong Kong? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#41091891)

Actually, come to think of it, the word fish behaves much like April First:
The plural April Firsts is only used if they are in different years...

Re:Can they come to Hong Kong? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41092323)

And what exactly do you suggest the government do? Place buoys with signs on them warning the fish not to eat the plastic?

Whaling ships for change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41090657)

In the near future, the Pacific is roamed by a fleet of whaling ships which scoop the plastic in from the front and spit canned, inflatable blue whales from the back.

Jesus Fucking Christ: There is no fucking island (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41090663)

The plastic is in microscopic pieces.

END OF STORY.

There cannot be any efficient effort to collect what is so sparse you cannot even see it.

Re:Jesus Fucking Christ: There is no fucking islan (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090743)

Oh, I dunno. Whales seemed to be able to survive by eating microscopic plankton in clear water...

Re:Jesus Fucking Christ: There is no fucking islan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41091437)

Oh, I dunno. Whales seemed to be able to survive by eating microscopic plankton in clear water...

but not plastic bags... [youtube.com]

I've hoped for this idea... (2)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090715)

...for a couple years.

The Chinese are very efficient and productive people/nation. I wouldn't be surprised if they are already ahead of the game for this 'free' resource. I will be surprised if the Brits are the first to tap it.

Re:I've hoped for this idea... (1)

anotherzeb (837807) | about 2 years ago | (#41092903)

If China really saw pollution as a free resource, wouldn't their waterways (and possibly air in / around cities) be a little less polluted?

Re:I've hoped for this idea... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105003)

Welcome to Slashdot.

People usually demand relevant/logical points...

Re:I've hoped for this idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093045)

Check this out...http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/12/the-chinese-town-that-turns-your-old-christmas-tree-lights-into-slippers/250190/

Sad (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 2 years ago | (#41090723)

If it were possible to make a profitable business of this that would be a very sad state of affairs.

Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41091161)

Fish, and plankton. And sea chairs, and protein from the sea.

Overwhelming, am I not?

crash (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#41091235)

Let's say that all the technical problems are overcome and such a ship heads out and starts making plastic furniture. What kind of irony would result from a rogue wave tipping all the cargo back into the sea?

Yay! (2)

brillow (917507) | about 2 years ago | (#41091385)

Please post more stories about fanciful ideas artists "hope" to do one day.

Also, post more links to people blogging about the dream they had last night.

Or something maybe someone thought of when they were stoned.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093099)

“Knowledge is limited; but imagination encircles the world”
And that would be Albert Einstein saying that...the whole point is to have ideas. This project may be fanciful and full of holes but it's inspiring too - I'm inspired to recycle more effectively, to contribute to other projects that are perhaps more practical right now.

I once spent six years turning an old sand quarry into an environmental building methods display centre. It was stupid and impractical but people were inspired and in the local area there are now LOTS of solar-powered, mudbrick and other eco-design houses. It's a great legacy to leave behind. If you only change the way a few people behave, that's fine. Becasue if we all do that we'll change the world...one step at a time...

If this discussion, for example, frustrates you to the point where you come up with somethign that is practical and do-able right now, how fantastic would that be?

mod 3own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41091739)

all; in order to go most 4eople into a first avoid% going posts. Due to the

Re:mod 3own (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41092179)

Due to what??? C'mon, gimme the rest, I hate such cliffhangers.

More exposure for stuff like this (2)

trickstyhobbit (2713163) | about 2 years ago | (#41092061)

So much time is spent arguing about global warming that we seem to have totally abandoned the non-global-warming-causing pollution issue. Global warming is certainly disastrous, but turning all the water on earth to a poisonous garbage dumb seems more imminently dangerous.

Re:More exposure for stuff like this (2)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41092175)

That problem demands real solutions from which tangible results can be seen in a reasonable time-frame. Global warming, well, it's way harder to see if we're making any progress. That makes it much easier to turn a profit feeding in to the hysteria as you don't need to do any actual work.

Just kidding, of course. Want to buy some carbon offsets? They're totally legit.

Pix or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41092233)

Where are the PICTURES of these alleged 'islands of plastic', if they are so huge and therefore must be easy to find (via satellite if nothing else)?

Is it too much to expect evidence that these 'islands of plastic' even exist? You would have thought there would be loads of videos on Youtube of them...

Re:Pix or it didn't happen (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41092329)

In the meantime we're still waiting for pictures of AC's brain. Some are saying that since there are no pictures, there is no brain.

Re:Pix or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41092681)

What a brilliant rebuttal!

You idiot. You can't think for yourself, you can't question ANYTHING you're told is true, so you attack the messenger.

Where are the PICTURES?

Perhaps you meant to write:

"I'm sorry, but there aren't any pictures, even though this is supposed to be a MASSIVE amount of plastic, floating about in the form of a huge ISLAND, so I'm going to just pretend it exists, because then I'll be all 'green' and 'caring', won't I'."

You moron. Well done.

Re:Pix or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41092935)

I forgot to quote:

"The Pacific Ocean trash dump is twice the size of Texas, or the size of Spain combined with France. "

Yes, sure it is - but there are no PICTURES of it! And our resident moron, Dunbal, modded me down for asking a pertinent, SCIENTIFIC question. Because poor old Dunbal isn't even interested in whether it exists or not, he just wants to stop any dissent. What an idiot.

Re:Pix or it didn't happen (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41094129)

And our resident moron, Dunbal, modded me down

Sounds like someone is off his meds. I can't mod you down and post in the same thread. But go ahead and rage away - remember to caps lock me more, that will really hurt.

Re:Pix or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095945)

Oh, how stupid of me, I thought you were going to reply to my post to supply PICTURES...

You know, the very things I was talking about, which you seem unable to even mention...

LOL.

How about inflatables? (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#41092977)

This may be slightly off-topic, but hey, this is idle so I'm probably improving the quality of discussion, anyhow...

Why aren't inflatables more popular? A traditional queen size mattress costs at least $200, meanwhile a queen sized air mattress costs $20, or an order of magnitude less expensive. Inflatables aren't perfect, but these days they're quite stable and nearly as comfortable as a regular mattress. What's more, they don't have springs or padding to wear out quickly, as cheaper regular mattresses do.

I've even seen a little $50 love-seat that was inflatable. Considering being able to eliminate the steel frames, springs, cross-beam supports, and all that polyurethane, it should be easy to make them cheaper, and again be at least an order of magnitude cheaper than conventional sofa, chairs, etc.

  The benefits of super lightweight, incredibly compact when packed away, and incredibly portable, plus cheap and very little material used, seems like a slam-dunk.
So why don't we see more of this? Whether with recycled sea-plastic, or not. People like to say how incredibly cheap consumers are, yet this seems like an obvious, huge expense saver, that it seems almost nobody takes advantage of. Why not? When did we become furniture snobs?

Re:How about inflatables? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41093595)

Inflatables aren't perfect, but these days they're quite stable and nearly as comfortable as a regular mattress

Not any that I've laid on. I have some, for those times when you need a bunch of mattresses quickly, but I don't sleep on them. I sleep on a big fucking futon about a foot thick, as opposed to one of those janky student futons. I've owned those, too, they're marginally more comfortable than laying on the floor, and much better for those with dust allergies.

What's more, they don't have springs or padding to wear out quickly,

Instead being horribly vulnerable to hot or pointy things.

I've even seen a little $50 love-seat that was inflatable.

Great, a piece of furniture that seats two with a weight limit of what, 375 pounds? 450 tops? That you certainly can't fuck on without an undesired pop...

The benefits of super lightweight, incredibly compact when packed away, and incredibly portable, plus cheap and very little material used, seems like a slam-dunk.
So why don't we see more of this?

Because it's actually shit. The only inflatable things that really hold up are Zodes and even they have to be patched more frequently than you might enjoy. Most any such craft I've seen with any antiquity has been patched and repatched. That'd look nice in your living room.

Whether with recycled sea-plastic, or not

Almost certainly not. The reason post-consumer recycled bottles are so very expensive is that the tiniest impurity will cause pinholing. I had a discussion about it in Boquete, Panama with a guy who alleged he had invented the (somewhat underwhelming) technology for air-testing post-consumer plastic bottles for this reason. Instead, recycled plastic is best made into stuff like park benches or that shitty plastic decking that people buy because they are stupid.

Re:How about inflatables? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#41094995)

<blockquote>

Instead being horribly vulnerable to hot or pointy things.

Pointy... maybe. Hot, not so much. We're talking about melting plastic here, and there's no reason you can't have a nice thick cover sheet/topper to completely fix that imaginary issue.

Great, a piece of furniture that seats two with a weight limit of what, 375 pounds? 450 tops? That you certainly can't fuck on without an undesired pop...

Rated at 500lbs, and have you ever heard of a pressure-relief valve?

Did you have anything to contribute to the discussion other than a baseless "nuh uh!"

Re:How about inflatables? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41097399)

Rated at 500lbs, and have you ever heard of a pressure-relief valve?

I have heard of a pressure-relief valve. A good one is expensive. A shitty one you might as well not even have.

Did you have anything to contribute to the discussion other than a baseless "nuh uh!"

Baseless? If inflatable furniture were such a great idea it would already be ubiquitous for all the reasons you state. It's not, because it always dies.

Re:How about inflatables? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#41101785)

If inflatable furniture were such a great idea it would already be ubiquitous

That's some great circular logic you got there... of course the status quo is always imminently rational and based on the best information, and unconstrained by fashion or market forces.

that damn picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41095671)

....it always comes up when talking about the Pacific Garbage Gyre but its of a heavily polluted landfill/river in India. Its incredibly misleading and leads to ridiculous misconceptions of whats going on in the Pacific.

Make Islands, Not Chairs (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | about 2 years ago | (#41097671)

There are floating chunks of pumice created by undersea volcanoes. Rather than just making chairs with the floating plastic, someone should combine the plastic and pumice to make entire floating islands. Then put some chairs on them. That would be much more valuable than just the chairs, not to mention floating islands are cool.

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