A boat made from 800 plastic bottles is embarking on an extraordinary journey along the south coast to go on display at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
Cornish boat builder Andy Fox built the six-metre trimaran – named Respect – last year with the help of local primary school children and the milk bottles they brought in from home.
Mr Fox, who previously built the recycled plastic boat Plastiki, which sailed the Pacific from San Francisco to Australia in 2010, will be making the three-day, 50-mile trip from Cawsand to Falmouth where it will be exhibited at the museum over the summer.
Boat builder and sailor Ian Munslow, who worked as shore crew on the Artemis 2013 Americas Cup team, will be joining him as crew.
But before the trip, Mr Fox needs to raise at least £2,000 to build a support boat, again working with the children from Fourlanesend School.
The support boat, which will be designed by the children, will be made from lightweight and very strong honeycomb-structured polypropylene – a fully recyclable plastic.
The whole project is designed to change perceptions about waste in general, and to show how the boat-building industry can be more sustainable.
“We think of plastic as this terrible and wasteful material that is damaging to the environment,” Mr Fox said. “This is often true because it is not used or disposed of properly.
“But plastic is also a cheap, versatile and very strong material that can be endlessly recycled if used properly.
“In fact this makes it a lot ‘greener’ than many materials used in boatbuilding and other industries that often have wasteful production processes or have to be transported halfway around the world.”
Ultimately, Mr Fox wants to work with local beach cleaning charity Rame Peninsula Beach Care to recycle the plastic waste collected from local beaches to build boats and other products, providing local employment and improving the marine environment.
The voyage to Falmouth will be filmed, and the bottle boat will also be fitted with a satellite tracker so its progress can be monitored in real time.
After its arrival at the Maritime Museum, Rame Peninsula Beach Care and Andy Fox will be hosting a forum on marine waste there on July 21.