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Turning fishing nets into fashion apparel

Words by Tess Becker

When we think about trash making its way into the ocean, we often think about the images of sea turtles with plastic straws stuck in their noses or fish stuck in soda can holders.

But the reality is, most of the garbage that pollutes the ocean is fishing gear like lines and nets. Nearly 46% of the plastic by weight comprises discarded fishing nets and lines which are particularly hazardous to marine life.

The apparel and gear company Bureo is trying to help, by starting a new fashion partnership with sustainable apparel company Patagonia.

Bureo prevents these nets from ending up in our oceans and gives them new life as upcycled sunglasses, skateboards, and even Jenga blocks. Now with Patagonia, they’re looking to expand their goals and their reach.

Last year alone, Bureo collected 650 tons of nets. Many of them came from fishermen to who Bureo gives a small payment for their donated nets.

All that collected waste goes into their newly developed NetPlus fabric which they hope to get on shelves with companies like Patagonia. 

“It’s a really good example of how we can create a better solution by turning fishing nets into the fabric, but as a community and as a world, we’re going to need a lot of these different types of solutions. And we’re going to have to decrease our dependence on single-use consumer products.”

Patagonia made headlines a few months ago when the owner gave away the company so profits could be donated to sustainable causes.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Life Below Water.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs