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Recycled ‘Flipflopi’ vessel touring Africa

A colourful sailing vessel has completed its African voyage, taking it over 500km south down the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania.

It’s a trip made by many boats. What makes the Flipflopi unique is that the 10-metre, seven-tonne vessel was made entirely from waste plastic collected on Kenya’s beaches.

The larger parts – the keel, ribs and other structural elements – were constructed in a recycling factory south of Lamu, Kenya, from plastic scrap, including containers, bags and even old shampoo bottles, which were compressed in steel moulds. The planks were made by extruding more recycled plastic and more than 30 000 abandoned flip-flops were used to line the hull.

Following the first trip, the Flipflopi is now embarking on another expedition; around Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. ‘The rationale behind this is to take the message upstream,’ explains Dipesh Pabari, co-founder of the project. He says more than 90% of ocean plastics originate in eight major rivers, including the Nile, part of which begins in Lake Victoria.

Flipflopi is part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Clean Seas campaign, which promotes a circular supply chain.   

 

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