Turning marine waste: from sea to fashion…November 19, 2015
Hat: Fashion on the high seas: turning marine waste into high-end clothing
Funding Scheme: 2015-11-19
Pgm2014 2020: Yes
An EU-funded feasibility study has helped an ambitious SME assess the potential of collecting marine plastic litter to produce high quality clothing.
Ecoalf, a Spanish SME that designs and markets high quality textile products and accessories made from recycled materials such as PET bottles, discarded fishing nests, used tyres, post-consumer coffee and post-industrial cotton, aims to expand its range to include fabrics and clothes made from marine plastic litter.
An EU-funded feasibility study, entitled UPCYCLINGTHEOCEANS, was launched to analyse the economic feasibility of this initiative, identify logistical challenges to obtaining marine plastic litter and to carry out a survey among clients and distributors to assess market reaction.
‘Our objective is to develop production technologies using sophisticated R&D processes to recycle debris from the ocean floor,’ explains project coordinator Paloma Oñate from Spanish SME Ecoalf. ‘We want to create the first generation of recycled products form marine debris with the same quality, design and technical properties as the best non-recycled products.’
The environmental benefits of this initiative are not just limited to the removal of a primary source of marine pollution. The manufacturing of PET thread from recycled materials – rather than from non-renewable raw materials –means 20 % less water waste, 50 % less energy consumption and a 60% reduction in air pollution production during the production process. ‘Also, if this petroleum-based waste were removed from the ocean, it would end up in a dump or incinerated, which would cause emissions that are harmful to the environment or result in contaminated land waste,’ adds Oñate.
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