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Fishermen to trawl for plastic scrap

A scheme to recycle waste plastic collected by fishermen from the seas around the UK has been launched.

The Ecover and Closed Loop Recycling initiative has led to trials to develop a new type of plastic using the collected waste marine plastic, recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE), and plantastic - Ecover’s own brand of bioplastic made from sugarcane.

Chris Dow

Closed Loop managing director Chris Dow

Closed Loop Recycling chief executive, Chris Dow, said: “It’s great that a large producer such as Ecover is taking such a futuristic view on packaging, showing true commitment to designing on shelf product with recycling in mind.”

The two firms are supporting the Waste Free Oceans (WFO) initiative to reduce floating debris from Europe’s coastlines, which seeks to engage fishermen to collect waste.

Europe’s fishermen will collect marine debris using specially-designed trawls. They will bring back between 2-8 tonnes per trawl for sorting and recycling.

Similar initiatives with a range of corporate sponsors, NGOs, and local and European politicians have already been launched in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece and Austria.

Dow said: “It’s about the industry taking responsibility for plastic litter and educating people to take responsibility for their own waste and recycle as much of it as possible, in the knowledge that recyclers like us can maximise this resource and enable it to reused in new food and drink packaging, thus reducing our reliance on oil rich virgin materials.”

Ecover’s chief executive, Philip Malmberg added: “As manufacturers we’ve got to take responsibility for sustainability very seriously – to take real action on climate change and the damage done by our over-reliance on fossil fuels, creating ‘green’ products that deliver more than a nod to sustainability.”

In January MRW reported that fisherman in the Philippines were being paid to collect discarded nylon fishing nets to be recycled and made into carpets.

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