Closing the Loop on Marine Waste

Net-Works: Inclusive Business for Ocean, Economy & Society (2014)

Commitment by: Interface, Inc.
Commitment Partners: Aquafil S.p.A., Zoological Society of London

How can a carpet tile do the most good in the world? This question catalyzed the creation of Net-Works®, an unlikely partnership that has created an inclusive, community-based supply chain in the Philippines, turning discarded fishing nets into 100 percent recycled carpet yarn.

1 Globally, an estimated 54.8 million people depend on the sea for their livelihood, and up to 1 billion people depend on fish for a healthy diet. At the same time, 640,000 metric tons of fishing gear is discarded in the world’s oceans every year, injuring marine life and destroying fish populations.

Up to 1 billion people depend on fish for a healthy diet. That’s roughly 1/7th of the world’s population.

2 A partnership between Interface, a global carpet tile manufacturer, and the Zoological Society of London, an international conservation charity, Net-Works® pioneered an inclusive business model in the Philippines.

Working with local partners on the ground, Net-Works® engages communities in the collection and cleaning of discarded nylon fishing nets, which if left abandoned in the oceans and along the beach, could create lasting damage for more than 600 years.

As of June 2015, 66.86 metric tons of nets have been collected across 14 collection sites in Danajon Bank and the Bantayan Islands, Philippines — enough net to go around the world over 1.5 times.

3 Local participants then sell the nets they have collected into the program, which provides a supplemental source of income. Net-Works® has also created or enhanced community banks at each collection site, so that participants can build up savings, access microloans, and learn about financial security.

Through this process, participants are benefiting from the alternative income generated through net sales and the communities are taking ownership of the conservation of their local environment.

Community banks are enabling their more than 500 members to save for school fees or to set up their own businesses.

4 The cleaned, baled nets are packed and shipped to Aquafil, Interface’s yarn supplier, where they go through an innovative nylon regeneration process that turns discarded waste nylon into 100 percent recycled carpet yarn.

51.8 metric tons of these nets have already been shipped to Aquafil to be recycled and absorbed into Interface’s supply chain.

5 In 2014, Net-Works® committed to develop the infrastructure and tools to make this program replicable and scalable around the globe. So far, two additional collection sites have been set up in Northern Iloilo, Philippines, and Net-Works® will begin collecting nets in Cameroon by the end of the year.

Interface then purchases the 100 percent recycled yarn to create carpet tile. Through this process, Net-Works® aims to collect 38 metric tons of discarded nets every year.

Net-Works® aims to collect 38,000 metric tons of discarded nets every year.