‘Ghost nets’ amount to over 600,000 tonnes of lost gear every year. The main hazard is to marine life – from invertebrates to large marine mammals. They continue to fish, long after they have been abandoned, and account for countless lives. The netting, very slow to degrade, scrubs coral, creating a desolate seascape where they are dragged over the reef by shifting currents.
Now, all over the world, dive teams are removing these ghost nets from the wrecks and reefs, often at great depths, and bringing them up to the surface where they can be recycled and spun into nylon yarn.
“This is a fantastic idea, one which demonstrates what we can, and should, do for the oceans”.
‘Her Deepness’ Sylvia Earle.
ECONYL® yarn is made by Aquafil – an Italian company which has developed an ingenious process to recycle nylon waste back into first grade quality nylon yarn.
For every 10,000 tons of ECONYL® raw material, Aquafil are able to save 70,000 barrels of crude oil and avoid 57,000 tonnes of CO2 eq. emissions. As well as being a solution on waste, ECONYL® regenerated nylon is also better when it comes to climate change. It reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 80% compared with the material from oil.
A ‘Grave To Cradle’ Product
“It is possible to imagine a world where there was no way to make any new plastics. If this were to happen, human ingenuity would find a way to recycle all this waste we produce and as a result reduce our impact on the planet. We don’t want to wait for that time, we want to be a part of this solution now. Our OceanPositive swimwear range is a statement of intent, to do something meaningful to benefit the environment that we love and feel compelled to protect.”.
Paul Strike, co-founder of Fourth Element.
The OceanPositive concept reverses the traditional ‘cradle to grave’ product development models with the raw material coming from a product at the end of its life, to create a product designed by divers, for divers and made from entirely regenerated waste.
Last year, over 100,000 tones of fishing net was recovered from the ocean – approximately 10% of the total lost, but these amounts keep increasing thanks to initiatives like:
It is not just about recovering abandoned fishing net from the sea. Thanks to NOAA’s Marine Debris programme, NetWorks and harbourside collection bins in many major fishing ports, thousands of kilograms of net are collected for recycling at the end of their useful life. This prevents thousands of tonnes of waste accumulation in our marine and terrestrial environment.