A great catch: discarded fishing nets become quality new products

A great catch: discarded fishing nets become quality new products

Humanscale's Smart Ocean desk chair is one of the latest new products made using plastic fishing nets retrieved from the sea and reprocessed

discarded fishing nets account for 10 per cent of ocean plastic waste

Ocean plastics have become a huge threat to marine life. According to Chile's Bureo project, which collects fishing nets discarded along the country's coastline to repurpose into useable material, these nets account for 10 per cent of plastic floating in the seas. Bureo is collaborating with companies such as US ergonomic office furniture brand Humanscale that are prepared to work with fishing net plastic; and the latter has developed a new task chair that uses 2lbs of recycled nets. 

Companies wanting to incorporate ocean plastics into their production processes are welcome to join forces with Bureo, a venture based in Santiago that works with communities along Chile's coastline to retrieve discarded nets and reprocess them into granules that can then be made into plastic for new products. 

Nets used in the production of the Humanscale's Smart Ocean chair, launched this year, are from Bureo’s Net Positiva recycling program, which provides incentives to participating communities to gather up nets that wash up on beaches or float in the sea and can be retrieved by fishing vessels.

Bureo is also working with companies that produce ocean plastic skateboards, sunglasses and Jenga blocks and more products are in the pipeline.


Carver Skateboards use Bureo fishing net plastic for its Ahi boards. Manufactured in California
Smart Ocean chair by Humanscale
Smart Ocean task chair by Humanscale uses fishing net plastic for the backrest
Jenga Ocean
Jenga ocean plastic blocks have ocean mammals depicted on them
'Ocean plastic has become one of the greatest threats to our oceans and discarded fishing nets are the worst kind of ocean plastic. These nets can ‘ghost fish’ for years and  are often washed onto reefs, damaging or destroying these delicate ecosystems,' says Robert King, Humanscale founder and CEO.
'Humanscale has partnered with Bureo, which produced plastic for us to manufacture parts for our Smart Ocean chair. This is one way we're realising our vision of making manufacturing truly self-sustaining; every chair we make in this way has a positive impact on the environment.'
a great catch of nets - Bureo fishes for Humanscale
plastic nets are reprocessed into pellets which can be made into new products
Goods produced using Bureo recycled plastic are sold through the Nextwave initiative, a consortium of companies that includes Bureo and Humanscale.
NextWave is a cross-industry, collaborative and open-source initiative originally convened by Dell Inc., now led by Lonely Whale. NextWave is developing the first-ever commercial-scale ocean-bound plastics supply chain to keep plastics in the economy and out of the ocean. Other founding member companies include General Motors, Trek Bicycle, Interface, Van de Sant and Herman Miller. NextWave is supported by leaders in scientific research and environmental advocacy including the UN Environment, 5Gyres Institute, Zoological Society of London and New Materials Institute. 
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