For the 4th consecutive year, RES Polyflow has supported Cleveland’s Great Lake Erie Boat Float by collecting and repurposing hand built entries made entirely of plastic items found in the waste stream and collected from along our coastline.
Organized by the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to bring awareness to the challenges posed to our waterways by plastic pollution, this year’s Boat Float was organized into two flotillas: the Corporate Boat Float held during the Burning River Festival on Whiskey Island in August and the Lake Erie Boat Float at Edgewater Park in downtown Cleveland in September. Both events were undewritten by the Burning River Foundation, a local non-profit established to assist in restoration of our region’s lakefront and river ways.
In all, 18 teams constructed watercraft of all shapes, sizes and materials for launch and maneuver around a predefined course in Lake Erie. Top honors in the August Corporate Boat Float went to the Great Lakes Brewing Company entry that was made of (what else) beer kegs. The Great Lakes team navigated the course with ease and left their counterparts from the Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga County Port Authority and University Hospital System in their wake. The September float saw 14 club and non-profit teams arrive with high hopes for success only to have their vessels dry-docked due to high winds and rain. Entries from September will try it again next year.
In all, RES Polyflow collected and recycled nearly 1,500 pounds of polymer waste used to construct the boats. The breadth of polymer materials collected from the coastline of Lake Erie, the curbside collection boxes from home and the dumpsters from local businesses was expansive. Common items such as paint buckets, snow fencing and medical saline bottles were easily converted into one and two person crafts. Cut-down bleach bottles attached to the end of crutches became seaworthy paddles. Food grade 55 gallon drums served as pontoons on more than one entry. Good times were had by all and a large colorful pile of plastic waste was diverted from the waste stream (and local rivers and streams) for good.
According to research conducted by the 5 Gyres Institute, a staggering amount of the plastic waste generated by the world economy annually simply becomes missing in action as litter, only to turn up months and years later in our waterways and oceans. Awareness is the first step to addressing the problem of runaway plastic, followed by wise action that leads to responsible disposal. RES Polyflow helps bridge the gap between disposal and reuse by offering a radically efficient method of recovering the BTUs embedded in polymer products. You can learn more about our award winning patented process of recovering energy from plastic waste by visiting our Pinterest page (look for more Boat Float photos while there).