A novel proposed use for plastic bottles includes the creation of floating habitat islands. These islands are comprised of recycled plastic bottles bound together with marine foam and covered with a layer of soil.
- BioHaven® floating Islands are said to offer significant benefits in that they re-use a waste product, improve water quality by filtering out phosphates, nitrates, heavy metals and other run-off contaminants using polymer fibers and vegetation to mimic natural wetland processes, and they create habitat for wildlife.
- The concept has been trialed in Oregon, where a floating island covered with pumice to create nesting habitat was installed in Dutch Lake to draw Caspian Terns away from the Colombian river estuary containing juvenile salmon. The island was used by the terns as a nesting site.
Implications and next steps: Although small- scale in terms of waste re-use, floating islands may prove a novel and beneficial end-of-life use for plastic bottles as they offer numerous environmental benefits for water quality and biodiversity in waterways and estuaries.