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The Flipflopi – A boat out of recycled plastic ⛵️

Katharina Elleke katharinaelleke

The Flipflopi – A boat out of recycled plastic ⛵️

01/03/2019 at 10:17

Hello lovely community!
So, next to Precious Plastic I’ve also been involved in another inspiring project aiming to tackle plastic pollution: The Flipflopi Expedition.
(I already shared bits of it here, but wanted to create a new topic to explain the project and share all future updates here.)

What’s the Flipflopi?
It’s a dhow (=a traditional sailing boat) made from recycled plastic + flipflops which was collected along the kenyan beaches and streets.

But it’s about more than building a boat.
Crucial part of this project is the EXPEDITION part:
We’re sailing this boat along the coasts to…
…make people AWARE of the problem and the hidden value in all the plastic waste. And that single-use plastic just doesn’t make sense at all.
ENGAGE companies & stakeholders to make decisions against single-use plastics.
INSPIRE individuals and communities to make change locally (to reduce their waste, to clean up their environment and to turn plastic into value – Precious Plastic is of course a big part of that! 🙂)

To reach more people and continue this work on a bigger scale, we need to build a bigger boat, Flipflopi Kubwa (=”big” in swahili), that can sail across the Indian Ocean to Cape Town (and then around the world!), to connect communities and stakeholders which are key to make change.
We could trigger a leapfrog moment before single-use plastic and a throwaway culture becomes fully embedded.

👉 Short video about the Flipflopi Project (3min), also showing some of the processes.
👉 PLASTIC – A second Life, a SUPER NICE film (7min) about the plastic bag ban and movement to tackle the plastic pollution in Kenya.
👉 An impression of our first 500km Expedition in Feb 2019 (1min)

So, in further comments I will share:
⛵️ General updates of the project
⛵️ How we built the first “prototype” boat (processes, materials, challenges…)
⛵️ The process and challenges of building the BIG DHOW.

There are a lot of questions and challenges to solve for the further processes, so whoever interested in boatbuilding or producing big parts with recycled plastic, we’re happy for any idea and information 👐
(And, to build the big boat, we will also need some financial support! So for anyone who feels like spending money on a good project or knows people who could support – I can highly recommend Dave Hakkens‘ projects and The Flipflopi hehe 🙏)

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01/03/2019 at 12:43

nice, thanks for sharing. we’d rather prefer to send you components/parts for free instead of monetary aid, also to make sure our invest goes into the right direction, for instance the process is going to be fully documented, open source and reproducible for others (last time you’ve got our money nothing really changed (bazaar) so that’s why opting for a true network/community effort seems more viable for everyone 🙂

01/03/2019 at 21:35

my team say it’s awesome project, i agree, this could be feasible to us coast guys. we can dedicate 5-10 hours machining time the month. in a few weeks we have a pretty good plasma-cutter-cnc (HyperTherm50), and in 2 months also a laser-cutter (fiber) I hope. In the mean time we can machine whatever you need and send it to you (where?). of course, only if you open-source the entire process 🙂

21/03/2019 at 16:14

What a wonderful idea! I can suggest you to looking for “Mal di plastica” which is a local project based in Rimini, Italy.

They are doing pretty the same thing right now.



That’s the link to their facebook page!

Good luck

03/04/2019 at 18:40

Just an idea, why dont you make the boat like this one? http://www.jfa-yachts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Catamaran-custom-Long-Island-JFA-Yachts-Lombard-03.jpg
whit 2 bodys instead of one. You will need less space to make each body and then the boat will be more stable.

15/04/2019 at 00:18

HI Katharina,

Thanks for the post. awesome project. Could you please please put up as much as you can on the processes for refining and shaping the plastic. I love the fact the the boat is a beacon of hope. Here in Christchurch New Zealand we have a lot of progress to make about recycling our plastic. These techniques could be applied to so many different forms are potentially monumental enough to make people take notice. I know you are all super busy so thanks in advance.


29/10/2019 at 21:37

Hello Katharina can you please give us some more details regarding the type of plastics they have been using ? Are they mixing them at the recycling process?
How they are extruding so long beams ?

I am from Greece and i am working in a similar project inspired by the Flipflopi.
I have the shredder and the extrusion machine and a lot of shredded plastic already and now i am in the phase that i am working with the molds .
I will build a tradition boat of The national park of Prespes Greece ( the one in the image is from wood ).

Thank you in advance

05/11/2019 at 22:29

@robupritchard @wildlifeandnature

Hey! Okay, so I worked on the documentation of the flipflopi dhow, but haven’t been able to finalise it – Precious Plastic has priority! And there is still a lot to do 🙈

But as there seems to be interest, I will share the current status of the document with you, which already includes quite some information about the process!
Just keep that in mind that the document is still in progress 🙂
(Tip: Download it to view it properly / view two pages instead of single ones)

Happy to get feedback though and let me know if there is anything else you would specifically like to know!

Hehe we were actually looking into making a catamaran already – maybe it will be the model for the big one, let’s see!

09/11/2019 at 22:58

Thank you for your support . I will read the document.

I will let you guys know about our project too

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