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An idea by Ecoalf, a Spanish company that turns bottles, fishing nets and end-of-life tires into garments.
Keeping the sea clean can literally become the latest fashion: this is the goal of Ecoalf, a Spanish start-up that designs and sells clothes and accessories produced by recycling marine litter such as PET bottles, fishing nets, old tires, post-consumer coffee and post-industrial cotton.
This project is part of a broader European initiative called Upcyclingtheoceans, a study promoted to analyse the economic feasibility of this idea and the potential of marine litter as raw material for clothes.
The study carried out by Upcyclingtheoceans highlighted the importance of putting companies such as Ecoalf in contact with fishermen’s associations. Many issues are still unsolved, such as the lack of waste collection points in harbours, a problem that currently obstructs all attempts at sea litter recycling.
“Our objective is to develop production technologies using sophisticated R&D processes to recycle debris from the ocean floor,” explained the project coordinator, Paloma Oñate – “We want to create the first generation of recycled products form marine debris with the same quality, design and technical properties as the best non-recycled products.”
The manufacturing of PET thread from recycled materials, rather than from non-renewable raw materials, means 20 % less water waste, 50 % less energy consumption and a 60% reduction in air pollution production during the production process. “Also, if this petroleum-based waste were removed from the ocean, it would end up in a dump or incinerated, which would cause emissions that are harmful to the environment or result in contaminated land waste”, adds Oñate.