Two MNCs ‘net’ an eco-solution from India

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on September 28, 2018

A Starboard report said using parts made from recycled nets would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 14 per cent   -  Reuters

Royal DSM, Starboard to use recycled fishing nets to make surfboard parts

Discarded fishing nets from India may soon be recycled to make parts of surfboards and paddle-boards used around the world.

Earlier this week, Royal DSM, the Netherlands-headquartered specialist in nutrition and advanced materials, announced a tie-up with Bangkok-based Starboard Co, which makes surfboards and paddle-boards used in water sports. The two companies will join hands to re-purpose the resin from nylon-based fishing nets discarded on Indian beaches. The material will subsequently be used for making fins, fin boxes, and other structural parts of surfboards sold by Starboard globally, a Royal DSM spokesperson said.

Apart from leaving behind litter-free beaches and a healthier marine environment, the campaign will create jobs for local communities living in India’s coastal regions. “We will have a positive impact on the livelihoods of 300-plus people who work in the supply-chain collecting, sorting, cleaning, and processing fishing nets. We will also help develop new skills and knowledge within the local community,” said Matt Gray, Commercial Director Asia Pacific, DSM Engineering Plastics.

According to Gray, the company hopes to collect more than 500 discarded nets — each weighing 500-2,000 kg — every month. While data on the quantum of discarded nets in Indian beaches or the seas around is not available, globally it is estimated to be around 6.4 lakh tonnes.

These ghost plastic fishing nets, which constitute nearly 8 per cent of all plastic waste in the sea, remain in the marine ecosystem for hundreds of years. The United Nations estimates that more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife and fisheries and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems.

“We have already started the collection and processing part at an earlier stage and this process is fully in place. The collaboration with Starboard and turning these materials into high-end components for surfboards is relatively new,” Gray said.

“One of the most satisfying parts of our work is the challenge of redesigning our products to lower their environmental impact and achieve higher performance,” said Svein Rasmussen, Founder and CEO, Starboard. “Through this collaboration with DSM, we showcase how quick and easy it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet. We want to continuously push boundaries for more ecoinnovations for our boards,” Rasmussen said in a statement.

A carbon footprint report released by Starboard on Wednesday said using parts made from recycled fishing nets would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from similar processes by 14 per cent.

According to the DSM spokesman, the company doesn’t have any concrete plans right now to expand fishing nets collection in other countries but will certainly explore opportunities in this area.

Published on September 28, 2018

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