Group documents journey along Mississippi River with boat made of recycled material

Group documents journey along Mississippi River with boat made of recycled material
(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(Source: Jasmine Dell/KFVS)
(Source: Gary Bencheghib/KFVS)
(Source: Gary Bencheghib/KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A group called "Recycled Mississippi" said the Mississippi River was one of the most polluted rivers in the world, but cleaning efforts by communities along the river have changed waterways for the better.

Recycled Mississippi docked their unusual vessel made of recycled material in Cape Girardeau to showcase the power of recycling.

The boat is made out of 90 percent recycled materials.

Six people from all over the world are navigating the boat down the Mississippi, all in an effort to get the word out about recycling and what can be done with things people would normally throw away.

Dan Cullum is from New Zealand. He said the group is documenting people involved in protecting the river.

"Using single use plastics was something that wasn't just particular to New Zealand but it was something that people in coastal communities and rivers all around the world deal with," Cullum said. "So we said we wanted to go down one of the world's iconic rivers on a boat made from trash to really amplify this message further."

So far, Cullum has lived on the boat for the past month and is committed to showing the power of recycling.

"Waist in general is a design flaw..." Cullum said. "I think if we're able to put a little bit more thought into the way that we design products, as a collective humanity, there will be less waist."

The boat is made from recycled materials like plastic bottles, re-purposed wood, and a sail made from an old tent.

Along with the group's travels, they are documenting the people they meet along the way.

"Every single one of them tells a unique story of how this river has changed over time," Cullum said. "From something that was polluted, into something that is used by many and millions today."

As the group floats under the hot summer sun, on a boat made of trash, members said the trip is well worth it.

"We are going on a journey ourselves," Cullum said. "We're trying to eliminate as much single-use plastic from our journey as possible. Although we're never going to eliminate all waist from our lives, if we take conservative steps towards being more practical with how we consume that, in turn will eventually influence the way we are producing as a society."

Cullum also said the Mississippi River has been cleaned up tremendously over the last 30 years and that is why they want to share the message about keeping future waterways clean.

The boat started it's journey along the Mississippi River on June 19, 2016 in Minneapolis and will end at the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of August.

To follow the group's journey you can also check out their Facebook Page.

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