The UN reports that about 10 percent of all marine trash is made up of discarded fishing gear, and while some programs have sought to clean up the waste, flooring manufacturer Interface had an even better idea: making carpet using recycled fishing nets. Carpet manufacturers use a lot of nylon to produce their goods, and what better place to get that nylon than from discarded fishing nets, which are made from the same material? It’s all part of Interface’s Mission Zero, a goal to be environmentally neutral by 2020.
Discarded fishing gear is a big problem; it pollutes the environment as the trash sits on beaches and sinks to the sea floor, and nylon nets can take centuries to decompose. Nets also contribute to an issue called “ghost fishing” as they unintentionally catch and kill marine life.
To address this, Interface teamed up with the Zoological Society of London to create carpet made from fishing nets. The 6-month test project has already begun in the Philippines, where one ton of netting has been collected for use. The project employs people from local villages, including 280 impoverished households, to help with the cleanup, and it has set a goal of collecting 20 tons of netting by the end of April.
Ultimately, when Interface completes their Mission Zero goals, they will manufacture flooring without creating a deficit in the environment. Making recycled carpets out of fishing nylon is just one step in a line of many that the company is taking to create a sustainable business – and protecting marine life is the icing on the cake.
Images © USFWS and Verity Cridland