By providing fishermen with a small payment for their donated nets, Bureo encourages a circular system and boosts donation rates.
Fishing nets discarded in the sea pose a threat to marine animals and break down into polluting microplastics. Apparel and gear company Bureo prevents these nets from ending up in our oceans and gives them new life as upcycled sunglasses, skateboards, and even Jenga blocks. Now, the company has partnered with sustainable apparel company Patagonia to create a whole line of fishing net-based clothing.
The two companies have already experimented with using recycled nylon to create hat brims, but Patagonia’s fall 2021 collection will also feature jackets, pockets, and outerwear pieces made from old fishing nets.
Since 2013, Bureo has been developing partnerships with fishermen in Chile, Peru, and Argentina. They collect nets near the end of their life, remove all organic matter, and deconstruct the nylon net back down to its most basic chemical form for repurposing. By providing fishermen with a small payment for their donated nets, Bureo encourages a circular system and boosts donation rates.
Last year alone, Bureo collected 650 tons of nets. With their newly developed NetPlus fabric, they hope to expand operations even further. Their first partnership is with Patagonia, but they already have ten additional brands interested in adopting their recycled fabric technology.
Although this program has an impact in reducing waste, Bureo’s co-founder Kevin Ahearn told Treehugger, “It’s a really good example of how we can create a better solution by turning fishing nets into the fabric, but as a community and as a world, we’re going to need a lot of these different types of solutions. And we’re going to have to decrease our dependence on single-use consumer products.”