‘Poly-Mer’, the world’s first boat made from 99% recycled plastic waste

A London environmental charity has been given £77,250 to take children on educational ‘plastic fishing’ trips in the River Thames on the world’s only boat made of recycled plastic.

The City of London Corporation’s charitable funder and London’s largest independent grant giver, City Bridge Trust, awarded the money to Hubbub Foundation UK to combat littering and the increasing amount of plastic found in the River Thames.

Hubbub, based in Westminster, built ‘Poly-Mer’, the world’s first boat made from 99% recycled plastic waste, to raise awareness of the growing levels of plastic pollution in Britain’s waterways. The initiative was developed in partnership with Canary Wharf College, a local school that wanted to tackle the issue.

The City Bridge Trust grant will pay for 55 free plastic fishing trips to children from over 25 London schools to clear plastic litter from the docks around London’s Canary Wharf.  Recyclable material collected will be used to build more boats, creating a litter-busting fleet that can be deployed across the UK.

The programme will connect young people with the environment, reduce littering and help them learn more about making healthier, greener lifestyle choices.

Working with different groups of children over the next three years, the scheme will develop their knowledge of the Docklands Basin and create a catalyst for behaviour change around how younger generations see and treat the river

‘Poly-Mer’ is a 12-seater punt – a type of boat designed over a thousand years ago - but uses the most modern of materials - recycled single-use plastic, or ‘Plaswood’, which is made from 100% recycled plastic. The boat was built by Mark Edwards MBE, a Richmond-based boat builder who previously built the Queen’s barge, ‘Gloriana’.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, commented:

“We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to take care of our environment. Educating children on how they can make a difference is the way forward to making a real step-change.

“This project is unique. It will grab the attention of our children and inspire them to put the environment at the heart of their thinking.

“We are committed to making the capital a better place to live, for all Londoners.”

Trewin Restorick, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Hubbub said:

“There is increasing concern about the amount of waste plastic littering our oceans and waterways.

“The children will see first-hand the impact that plastic can have if it is littered.  They will also learn how waste plastic has a value and can be turned into a variety of products.  One of the boats they will be using is the Poly-Mer, a traditional punt constructed by the Queen’s boat-builder out of 8,000 plastic bottles.

“We hope that the trips will stimulate students to take action in their schools helping to turn the tide on the growing amount of plastics being dumped.”

City Bridge Trust makes grants totalling around £20 million per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London.

The charitable funder has awarded more than 7,700 grants totalling over £370 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

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