Did you know that ghost nets are considered among the deadliest ocean debris in the world? The term refers not to haunting specters in the water, but discarded synthetic fishing nets that pollute the seabed and trap fish, mammals and other sea creatures. To raise awareness about these abandoned fishing nets and marine plastic pollution, Rotterdam-based research and design studio The New Raw has launched a new initiative called Second Nature that’s transforming the deadly ghost nets into 3D-printed seashells, bowls and other beautiful objects.

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machine 3D-printing objects

The Second Nature project begins with the collection and sorting of the ghost gear depending on material type: nets, ropes, floaters or weights. The plastic waste is then processed in a grinder to create colorful and textured filament for the 3D printing projects. Second Nature currently operates out of a mobile lab located in the small Greek village of Galaxidi.

Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans

person grabbing fruit from a 3D-printed bowl

lemons in a green 3D-printed bowl

Plastic is a major contributor to the pollution of the seas,” said Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, founders of The New Raw. “However, living in urban regions, we tend to forget about our dependence on the sea, which is crucial to our food and oxygen supply. With Second Nature, we want to give plastic a second life.”

seafood in a green 3D-printed bowl perched on wood table by the sea

grapes in teal bowl

The project also draws inspiration from five edible species of Mediterranean seashells — Mitra Zonata, Pecten Jacobeaus, Pinna Nobilis, Strombus Persicus and Tonna Galea — that are currently protected due to their intensive fishing. In giving the ghost nets a second life, Second Nature has created shell-shaped ornaments as well as a series of colorful tableware as part of its ongoing research project promoting a circular economy. The team plans to launch a new collection of objects in summer 2019 and have documented their process in a 10-minute short film by award-winning filmmaker Daphne Matziaraki, viewable here.

+ The New Raw

Images via The New Raw

blue seashell sculpture by the sea