Getting plastic out of the sea: Audi Foundation cooperates with clear rivers

Extracting plastic from the sea and creating new habitats for plants in the form of islands - this is the promise of an innovative project in the ports of Brussels and Rotterdam supported by the Audi Environmental Foundation.

07/04/2018 Reading Time: 1 min

Getting plastic out of the sea: Audi supports
Turning sea plastic into new living space – this is the idea behind the "Recycled Parks".

Litter Trap in the Port of Brussels

Together with Audi Brussels and the Port of Brussels, in March 2019 the Audi Environmental Foundation and its project partner Clear Rivers have installed a litter trap in the harbor basin of Brussels.

One cubic meter of plastic waste per month

The litter trap is a specially developed collecting basin, where the floating waste is flushed into a net, and retention devices prevent it from being washed out. With this procedure, it can be ensured that no plastic reaches the ocean via the canal. The litter trap was installed in the harbor basin and is emptied twice a week. The average amount of waste collected is one cubic meter per month.

Recovered waste serves an innovative purpose

The Pollution of our oceans with plastic waste is a global problem. The Audi Environmental Foundation aims at solving this problem together with Clear Rivers. Collecting basins in rivers and ports should prevent any plastic waste from entering the sea.

More than 98 percent of the waste floating in the rivers is located in the first meter below the surface and most of it is actually flowing only 5o cm below the surface. This makes it possible to collect the waste in nets. With catch basins, preventing the debris from being washed back out by strong waves. The waste is not only collected and recycled but it is also used for an innovative new purpose.

With a variety of techniques, such as pressing, welding and 3D printing, our project partner produces hexagonal plastic islands, which can be connected and used as a floating park.

These should bring about a lasting improvement in the living space of the local residents as well as that of fish and other aquatic animals in the river.

Recycled Park Rotterdam – a pilot project

The first floating park made from plastic waste was opened in July 2018 at the harbor basin in Rotterdam by Rüdiger Recknagel, Managing Director of the Audi Environmental Foundation, and Ramon Knoester, founder of the Recycled Island Foundation.

“We want to use new technologies like this to make our environment more livable”, said Recknagel. “The recycling of plastic waste is exactly in line with the objectives of our foundation. We are committed to ensuring a livable future for people, animals and plants.”

The first 'Floating Park' was opened in the harbour basin of Rotterdam
The first 'Floating Park' was opened in the harbour basin of Rotterdam

A plastic island as breeding ground for plants and trees

The plastic island landscape in Rotterdam has a total area of 140 square metres. In the installation, plastic islands of 5 square meters each would be connected and planted. It is also possible to plant moss and trees several meters high. Most blocks have an open structure through which the roots of the plants grow. This creates a thicket of roots below the water surface. Algae and other water plants can thrive ideally in these spaces.

It is planned to extend the project to other international locations in 2019.