Healthy Seas Recovers Discarded Fishing Nets From The Ocean So They Can Be Turned Into Recycled Nylon

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 week ago | Features

Image: courtesy of Healthy Seas.

You’ve heard about recycled nylon being made from discarded fishing nets, but ever wondered who goes out and collects the fishing nets, how exactly they do that, and why exactly it’s so important? Us too.

Enter Healthy Seas, an organisation founded by three partners including Aquafil (who make ECONYL® recycled nylon yarn) to collect discarded fishing nets from the ocean that will be turned into ECONYL® recycled nylon. We caught up with Jenny Ioannou, Communications Manager at Healthy Seas, to find out exactly what Healthy Seas does and why it matters.

Well Made Clothes: Can you tell us a bit about the work that Healthy Seas does, collecting waste fishing nets?
Jenny Ioannou: Healthy Seas was founded in 2013 to tackle the ghost fishing phenomenon that is responsible for the needless death of marine animals. Through cleanups with volunteer divers and by working with stakeholders of the fishing sector toward marine litter prevention, we collect waste nets and ensure they become a valuable resource. Our activities take place in many European countries (North, Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas) and in New Zealand.

Image: Ghost Diving, Krnica, July 2020, photographed by Mariusz Czajka. Courtesy of Healthy Seas.

Well Made Clothes: Why do you believe it is so important to clean the seas of marine litter?
Jenny Ioannou: It is estimated that on an annual basis, 640,000 tons of fishing gear are lost or abandoned in the seas and oceans. Fishing gear is the deadliest form of plastic debris killing millions of marine animals each year. Furthermore, plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose all the while losing tiny particles, called microplastics, that end up in the stomachs of fish and ultimately our food chain.

Well Made Clothes: When did you start partnering with Aquafil and what does this partnership entail?
Jenny Ioannou: Aquafil is one of the 3 founding partners of Healthy Seas. The nets that Healthy Seas collects become part of the ECONYL® Regeneration System. Nylon nets are regenerated by Aquafil, together with other nylon waste, into ECONYL® yarn, the basis for many sustainable products for the fashion and interior industries.

Image: Ghost Diving, Krnica, July 2020, photographed by Mariusz Czajka. Courtesy of Healthy Seas.

Well Made Clothes: How can this process also help to reduce waste in the fashion sector?
Jenny Ioannou: ECONYL® nylon yarn has the potential to be recycled infinitely, without ever losing its quality. The goal is that once all products containing ECONYL ® are no longer useful to customers, they can go back into step one of the Regeneration System.

For every 10,000 tons of ECONYL® raw material, Aquafil is able to save 70,000 barrels of crude oil and avoid 65,100 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 90% compared with the material from oil (source).

Well Made Clothes: What can individuals do to help minimise waste in their everyday lives?
Jenny Ioannou: Waste is the result of consumption. When citizens become more conscious of their choices and realise that each one matters, waste will also become less of a problem. But for sustainable choices to exist and for waste management to be more effective, we need more innovators, more education and stricter rules defining the framework of how businesses operate.

Image: Courtesy of Healthy Seas.

Check out the Healthy Seas website over here.

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