London, England, Jan. 15, 2013 -- Global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc. and conservation charity the Zoological Society of London said they have successfully completed a pilot project to tackle the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities.
The collaboration, called Net-Works, has been created to establish a community-based supply chain for discarded nets.
The program aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers, while providing Interface with another source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles.
Most nylon from the fishing nets is the same material used to make carpet yarn.
The pilot program was held from June to October last year.
Net-Works established the infrastructure to collect the fishing nets, gathering one metric ton of nets in the first month. This also helped clean 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.
Collection systems will now be set up in at least 15 local villages, involving more than 280 impoverished households (the equivalent of 1,400 people based on an average household size of five).
The goal is to collect 20 metric tons of nets by the end of April, which will provide funds for the communities.
Throughout 2013, Interface and ZSL said they will explore opportunities to expand their partnership to other parts of the world. They also plan to develop a toolkit to help other groups and organizations establish Net-Works supply hubs.