Circular Economy

This entrepreneur built an island resort out of plastic waste

An artificial island, built on a base of plastic bottles and other recovered waste, is seen on the Ebrie Lagoon near Abidjan, Ivory Coast October 28, 2019. Picture taken October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Luc Gnago - RC2QDD91LQ8S

This Ivory Coast island resort floats on 700,000 plastic bottles. Image: REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Emma Charlton
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Circular Economy?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Circular Economy is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Circular Economy

  • The island off Africa's Ivory Coast floats on 700,000 plastic bottles packed into boxes.
  • The resort is equipped with solar panels and has a pool.
  • Entrepreneurs are finding innovative ways to control our plastic waste problem.

For many people, a glut of plastic bottles floating in a lagoon would be negative. For entrepreneur Eric Becker, it sparked an idea for a business opportunity.

Have you read?

Among the litter, he had a vision to build a holiday destination with swimming pools, bars and relaxation areas.

Holiday resort floating on the ocean on plastic bottle pollution.
Eric Becker’s holiday resort in Africa floats on 700,000 plastic bottles. Image: Reuters Connect

Becker initially moved to the Ivory Coast with a plan to set up a catamaran business. It took him six years to build the island resort from plastic bottles, he told Reuters. The result floats on 700,000 bottles packed into boxes in the middle of Abidjan's lagoon, with a hotel that opened in 2018.

"Little by little, my idea of building a travel boat turned into how to build a system,” Becker says.

Poll

Would you stay on an island made from plastic waste?

  • Loading ...

Around 100 guests visit the island each week, with most coming on weekends. While the destination has solar panels for electricity, water has to be pumped in from the land because the lagoon is too polluted.

Recycling rates for different material-formation combinations and geographies
Global recycling rates. Image: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Becker’s work underscores the importance of finding innovative ways to tackle the volume of plastic in the environment. The challenges presented by single-use plastics are now well known, with roughly a truckload dumped into the ocean every minute. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation shows even regions with the highest recycling rates only manage to recycle around half their packaging.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about plastic pollution?

The project showcases how plastic can repurposed and used in innovative ways.

"It is a beautiful project and I think in future there will be several floating islands like this one,” says Becker. “We could have floating islands all over Ivory Coast and that would be great for us."

island made out of floating plastic on ocean water
About 100 guests visit the island in Abidjan's lagoon every week. Image: Reuters Connect
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Circular EconomyElectricityAfricaSocial Innovation
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

5 ways to boost e-waste recycling – and why it matters

Johnny Wood

February 14, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum