Raft made from Recycled Polystyrene to help clean Westlake River

Discarded post-consumer polystyrene that was collected from rivers and water sources around the Western Cape has been used to create an innovative new raft that will be used to clear debris and plastic pollution from the Westlake River in Cape Town.

“Polystyrene is often one of the most visible plastics in our rivers. Because of its light weight, this versatile material is easily blown into the water by the wind where it can break down into smaller pieces.

Built and designed by Hilton Cowie of Envirolite, approximately 10 kg of polystyrene was mixed with Envirolite’s special light weight cement aggregate to form this two-person raft. Fifty 5-liter PET bottles were also inserted in the cavity of the raft to increase its buoyancy.

John Kieser said that this is the first time that such a raft has been built and it will be a great help to not only  remove litter trapped in the river reeds and beds, but also algae from the river. There are currently three nets installed in the river that we use to trap the litter to prevent it from entering False Bay.

If this pilot project proves successful, more polystyrene rafts could be built in the future to service litter booms installed in other rivers around the country.

“It is significant and exciting to see  how polystyrene that was removed from the river is being put to good use and finds a second life in this raft. It does not cause any harm, but instead it cleans the river!” John concluded.

The Frame of the Raft while it was being built.

Inside the frame of the raft.

Hilton Cowie of Envirolite proudly shows off the completed Raft.