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    Date submitted
  • 19-Nov-2017

The Net Sea project

Abstract

Net Sea Project, has been launched in 2016 along the French Mediterranean coastline. It aims to collect and recycle marine debris, and discarded fishing nets.

Numerous organisations and initiatives are engaged in the collection of marine debris in the South of France. Without any recycle scheme, the collected material finishes its life on landfills.

Net Sea project is willing to fight ocean plastic by giving an economic value to an extended pollution. Ocean litter can be used as a resource to make new products. Net Sea team project is multi-disciplinary, and explore collective knowledge to bring new solutions and horizons to fight ocean plastic pollution. The collaborations between many different actors is a key point to have the project running.

The initiative is focused on a co-construction relationship with many stakeholders in order to establish a dialogue and common management of marine litter. Close contacts are made with fishermen, local organisations, artists, municipalities, marine protected areas, marine life rescue centres, sea users, recycling companies, research institutions, designers, industrials and retailers.

Different scales and types of recycling solutions are developed to offer a wide range of answers to give a second life to marine plastic. It can be used as a resource to make new products and to educate people and communities about its use.

Net Sea is a transversal project where the marine litter can be revalorised locally by artists, fablab, or more globally by industrial consortium able to deal with big quantity of collected waste. All these solutions have the same purpose to eco-design new products with recycled plastic litter.

R&D programs concentrate on developing new innovative materials made from the valorisation of fishing nets and marine debris. These materials will be available for industrials or brands which are moving toward positive impact.

Today, the collaborative and research work start to give satisfaction and important results. A disruptive innovation is under development and might change the way how marine plastic recycling is managed today. This innovative technology offers a new range of opportunities to recycle marine plastics whatever its chemical composition and degrees of degradation.

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Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Different types of customers are targeted depending of the products or services that are delivered. First, consulting services are developed for municipalities, marine protected area managers and regional government to help them to implement schemes to manage plastic pollution. Net Sea project has its own educational program for school kids. Awareness of young generation is also an important step to move toward more sustainability and less plastic consumption. The best litter is the one that we do not produce. Marine debris will be used as a raw material to make new sustainable and valuable products. The materials made from recycled fishing nets and plastic litter will be sell to brands or industries willing to implement positive impact for the design of their products, giving new experiences to their clients. Flag-ship products like sunglasses will be designed for the general public. It’s essential to show fashionable products that inspires the public with a story behind describing the marine plastic issue.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Our awareness program is made to educate people and kids towards the use of plastic and how we can avoid it in our everyday life. The goal is to cut the use of plastic and its spread into the environment. The plastic already left in the natural environment, must be used as a medium to accomplish a circular economy model. Different scales of valorisations of marine plastics are developed in order to bring a panel of solutions accessible for individuals, and industrials. New innovative materials will be generated from the recycling program. A new choice of materials for brands or industries, will be available to take sound decisions that offer solutions for designer to create objects or products with a positive impact. The recycling solutions will try to respond to a growing expectation of the general public asking for more responsible products.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

In France, there is no recycling scheme for old fishing gears or collected marine litter. They are ending up in landfills. However local managers of marine protected areas, and municipalities are looking for alternatives solutions for these wastes. The Ministry of the environment has funded a study called PECHPROPRE to diagnostic the possibility to develop fishing nets and marine litter recycling. Net Sea is the first program in France to provide various solutions to recycle marine litter. The project is closing the loop of existing initiatives already engaged against plastic litter in France. The program is co-constructed with the different stakeholders to develop solid foundation and bring credibility to the project. For instance, fishermen are playing a key role for the collection of old nets and marine litter, we have developed strong links, and trust relationships with different communities along the Mediterranean coastline. For the recycling part, we have developed partnerships with companies from the plastic industries specialised in recycling technology and the elaboration of innovative materials. Co-constructions and implications of the stakeholders is a pillar that is consolidated every day to make the project successful. Net Sea is also copying the Precious Plastic Project, a fablab is currently under development where it will be possible for anyone to elaborate new products from recycled litter collected at sea or anywhere else in the environment. More larger recycling operations will be managed by our industrial partners. Different solutions of valorisation are tested for the plastic litter and the fishing nets. For the plastic litter, a process, developed by our technical partner, can recycle one lot of different plastics in one hybrid matter. This innovative technology gives a different view on how we can recycle plastic marine litter. For old polyamide fishing nets, some extensive R&D are currently running to offer new innovative materials available for industrial use. Different flag-ship products will be developed to market the initiative with a strong local emphasis and products made in France. The objective is to demonstrate that the litter found on anyone door-step can be used as a raw material to create new fun products with a low carbon impact.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Net Sea is held by Palana Environment, an association with more than 20 members devoted in the development of the project. The association is also followed by numerous volunteers who bring their own knowledge and experience to the program. A team project of 4 people is leading the whole initiative. The Palana Environment community members is growing fast in the South of France with an increasing interest for marine litter. The project team is doing an important work to federate different stakeholders, the idea is to consolidate all the process along the value chain of the initiative. Each team member brings his/her own experience and network to develop strong links with the different actors. For example, we are working closely with the CESTMED (The French Mediterranean Sea Turle Rescue Center) which is in contact with many fishermen, marine protected managers, scientists, environmental organisations, this situation is giving the project an advantage to build trust relationship with many different actors. For the technical part, an industrial consortium, composed with companies and research institute specialised in plastic, is being co-developed to manage the recycling of complex plastic. Today, our consortium is giving a great value to the program. All different kind of plastic litter is being revalorised, and future materials made from polyamide fishing nets are currently under development. The valorised material will be available for designers and industrials to elaborate new generation of products with positive impact. Today, only a little percentage of plastic litter is recycled and a small fraction of it is mixed with virgin plastic to make new products. We are offering a new angle on how plastic litter can be recycled, as all plastic collected can be valorised independently of its resin and degradation. Our extensive collaborative work leads to collective intelligence and innovative solutions for the future of Net Sea. Today, in France, there is an empty space in the market with no equivalent project.