Courtesy Anne KaniaFloating Island International

Real estate salespeople like to claim that no one is making any more of what they have to sell. But don’t tell that to Bruce Kania. His Montana-based company, Floating Island International, has overseen the construction of dozens of artificial islands, the largest of which is more than an acre in size.

The basic structure of these islands is a thick, three-dimensional plastic mesh made from recycled plastic water bottles. Individual modules—which vary in size from 40 to 150 square feet—are joined at the edges with cable and metal plates and layered vertically as needed to build the required thickness. Initial flotation is provided by...

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