Traveling on the “Ayasofia”:
a boat made of plastic bottle waste

By translating their dream into reality, a young Strasbourg couple found a new way to fight against the consumerism that increases global heating and puts the planet at risk.

Everything began in the summer of 2018, when Buket and Sebastien decided to buy a boat. Because they are students, they lacked the financial means to buy an inflatable boat that would allow them to navigate the River lIle from the French city of Strasbourg. 

After long hours of research on the internet, they still did not find a boat that matched their criteria. Thus was born the idea of making a boat from used plastic bottles.

Making this boat helps the couple to realize their dream of traveling the river. More importantly, they say, it’s “an opportunity to prove that consuming in another way is possible.” The precondition is to be creative in recycling and modifying the used objects of daily life. According to the couple: “We are not bound to buy everything. We can also use self-made objects.” 

Buket explains that her family drinks water from plastic bottles. Despite her best efforts to convince her family to change its consumption habit, they still drink that bottled water. So, if she can’t change her family’s habit, Buket decided to change the way she uses the waste. After watching various videos on social media, Buket began thinking that the easiest way to have a boat was to build it — using the used plastic bottles! Thrilled by this idea, Sebastien also researched further on the internet in order to derive inspiration from plastic bottle boats that already existed. Finally, the young couple decided to trust their own makeshift solutions, and they began their project.

With the help of her family, Buket collected more than half of the 300 bottles they used to make the boat. Other bottles were collected by Sebastien’s parents during a dance festival. Still more came from parties in which the young couple took part during the summer. Finally, the tape — the final element needed to build the boat — was furnished by Buket’s father. After the assembly of approximately 300 bottles, with 15 rolls of tape and just two afternoons of work, the Ayasofia craft was born.

Once the boat was finished and baptized in front of interested eyes, the young couple anxiously moved toward the first try at the Achard Lake. Everything proceeded well, and the trial was successful.

Sebastien and Buket can now enjoy their boat. And that’s what they’ve done, with several trips already at the Bohrie Pond. The next step will now be to navigate the River lIe in the summer of 2020.

The boat’s name, Ayasofia, is the Turkish translation of Hagia Sophia — the iconic monument in Istanbul, Turkey, the country from which Buket originates.

Buket and Sebastien have built their own monument to human ingenuity in tackling climate change.

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