Putting plastic in the ocean . . . to help the ocean

Your doing a double take on the title . . . I know you are. Aren’t we supposed to keep plastic out of the ocean?

Well I got an interesting e-mail the other day. A company was asking makers for help in making an artificial reef to put in a specific location. A little research and looking at the corporate endorsers (corporate doesn’t just mean business’ mmmkay) and it looks like a good cause.

It will be made of PLA plastic (instead of petroleum based, it’s plant based. Over 1,000 3D printed parts will make up this artificial reef. This is my 3"x3"x3" piece of helping establish a coral reef.

Really no different than sinking a ship (from a navy ship to littler ships they do this with). Except this one they can actually move into an exact position that they want it in instead of sinking and hoping it goes right were they want it.

I am skeptical, the key is it staying in-place during storms. If it really can lock and not come apart, maybe. Otherwise it could be a disaster like the tire reefs in the gulf.

If designed correctly, once they put the pieces together, it should stay together. But being printed on hundreds of printers that could be off a few mm here and a few mm there hard to say. The center circle only goes halfway down. The rest will be filled with sand to keep it on the bottom of the ocean.

nearly a thousand pices with sand in them, it will probably move around the bottom a little (until the coral establishes itself and adds more weight), but it shouldn’t come apart (based on my experience of makig multi part peices that have to interlock together).

That’s the key, as long as it stays stable, almost anything can be a reef.

Hard to believe I had never heard of this. What a mess.