Discarded fishing nets are one of the most harmful forms of ocean pollution. Now, they’re getting recycled.
A small Chilean startup called Bureo began collecting fishing nets with the purpose of turning them into something better. Specifically, the company makes a fully traceable and recycled net material called NetPlus.
But Bureo and its members (communities in Chile and Argentina) collected so many discarded nets that they needed more uses for it.
Enter Patagonia. The Ventura, California-based gear manufacturer is partnering with Bureo to use NetPlus for its hat brims. And Bureo is using it in more products like surf fins, sunglasses, and more.
The NetPlus project works with fishers in these communities by providing financial incentives for nets collected. Bureo estimates they collect over 71,000 pounds of waste per year. That’s thousands of fishing nets that now have a new purpose. With this, Bureo is making the first recycled net material on the market.
This is just the first step of NetPlus’ integration into Patagonia’s supply chain. But it’s one step closer to a solution to ocean waste — and one step closer to a cleaner planet for all of us.
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By Mary Murphy
Mary is based in Denver, Colorado, but frequently travels abroad. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she’s not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.