Global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc. will soon begin using discarded fishing nets to make carpets, bringing both conservation and socioeconomic benefits to some of the world’s poorest coastal communities.
The company recently completed a pilot project, called Net-Works, with conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). By establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded nets, Net-Works aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers, while providing Interface with an innovative source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles.
Discarded nets on the beaches or in the sea have a detrimental effect on the environment and marine life as they can persist for centuries. But most nylon from these fishing nets is the same material used to make carpet yarn.
The viability of the collaboration was proven between June and October 2012. After conducting research and working closely with local communities and NGOs, Net-Works established the infrastructure to collect the fishing nets, gathering one ton (1,000 kg) of nets in the first month — and substantially cleaning up the beaches in four local communities near Danajon Bank, a threatened coral reef in the Philippines. Operations are now scaling up, with the intention of developing commercial carpet tiles incorporating the collected nets later this year.