Recycling plastic ghost fishing gear from our oceans


You can rule the pool, skate the streets and save our precious sea animals at the same time. How? Supporting the products that help clean up the ocean’s biggest killer.

Businesses around the world are developing solutions to the ghost gear crisis, creating quality, sustainable products from recycled fishing nets.

Image credit: N McLachlan

For Global Recycling Day, we are raising awareness of the need to remove the ‘ghost gear’ in our oceans and why we should support the people and businesses recycling it.

What is ghost gear and how can we help recycle it?

Ghost gear is the term used to describe plastic fishing nets and equipment that has been lost, abandoned or discarded in our oceans.

Research by CSIRO revealed that of all the types of marine litter, abandoned and lost fishing gear pose the greatest threat to marine wildlife, primarily because of entanglement.

Ghost gear includes fishing nets, ropes, pots and traps which can lurk in our oceans for up to 600 years. More than 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear is abandoned in our oceans each year, killing 136,000 seals, sea lions and large whales. (Read our report)

To protect marine life, we founded the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). The GGGI encourages the individual consumer to promote innovative, economically viable recycling solutions for retrieved ghost gear.

Swimsuits, skateboards and socks are helping solve the problem

Businesses around the world are developing solutions to the ghost gear crisis, creating quality, sustainable products from recycled fishing nets.

A number of swimwear brands are making swimming costumes out of ECONYL® – a fabric made from recycled fishing nets. Fourth Element, Tigerlily, Volcom, Ocean Zen and Liar the Label have all introduced ECONYL® ranges of swimwear.

Star Sock is another company making waves with their use of ECONYL® yarn. They’ve teamed up with the Healthy Seas Initiative to work with divers to remove waste, fishing nets and other marine litter from the seas and oceans. Even better, part of the profit from each sale is invested back into the initiative.

For further inspiration, ECONYL® has a list of apparel and interior brands they supply on their website.

Another ocean hero - Bureo has created NetPlus® recycled pellets that are used for products like skateboards, sunglasses, shirts and even ‘Jenga Ocean’ – the first board game made from 100% recycled fishing nets. To make the NetPlus® recycled pellets, fishing nets are collected off the shores of Santiago, Chile, by fishnet recycling program, Net Positiva.

By supporting these sustainable initiatives on Global Recycling Day, you can take comfort in the knowledge you’re taking a small action to help the animals you share our planet with.

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