Net-Works™ is designed to tackle the growing environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in some of the world’s poorest coastal communities and to support Interface’s ambitious goals for recycled content for its carpet tile.
Fishing for carpets
Nine thousand kilos of discarded fishing nets have been collected for recycling into carpet tiles, drastically transforming littered beaches along the Danajon Bank, Philippines.
Community-based supply chain
The program has established a community-based supply chain for collecting discarded fishing nets in rural coastal areas within the Danajon Bank, one of only six double-barrier reefs in the world.
Made from the same material that is used to make carpet yarn—can persist for centuries, taking a toll on the environment and marine life. Fishing nets are also one of the most abundant sources of recyclable nylon in the world.
Through collection of the fishing nets, artisanal fishers and community members who generally live at or below the poverty level can earn supplemental income. Keeping nets out of the water ensures their primary source of income – namely, the local marine life – stays healthy and intact.
What makes Net-Works unique is the fact that the fishing nets are collected through an "inclusive business" partnership with a strong social benefit. Communities get the best possible price for the nets and encouragement to clean up coasts and waters, as well as inclusion in global supply chains—that would otherwise not be available in their villages.
• Global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc., the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Project Seahorse Foundation for Marine Conservation Inc., Philippines (PSF) have collaborated to introduce and operate Net-Works, building a new source of recycled material. That material is reconstituted as 100-percent recycled yarn by Aquafil a global supplier of synthetic fibers.
Net-Works project manager
Dr. Nicholas Hill, Ph.D, Net-Works project manager, ZSL: “Recycling the nets has conservation benefits, that’s a given. But by taking an inclusive business approach we've done more. Community Banks have been set up so that income—including payment for the nets—can be kept safe. This means people can save income or take loans or micro-insurance in times of need to support their families. That's a real legacy.”
“It may seem a little crazy that a commercial carpet tile company has ended up working with the fishing community on a remote double barrier reef,” said Miriam Turner, AVP Co-innovation, Interface, Inc. “But that's the beauty of seeing design as more than just product. Co-innovating with experts from lots of different disciplines has been brilliant; together we've re-imagined what the value chain could look like. Sustainability is the mother of all collaborations after all.”
“Of course we get the chance to recover waste material that perfectly fits our ECONYL® Regeneration System. But what really excites and motivates us, is that we foster societal change among the fishers of the Philippines while improving their everyday conditions. It is not only a revolution in business or in supply chain, it is a whole change in mentality that involves suppliers, communities, producers and the final customers,” said Giulio Bonazzi, CEO Aquafil, Arco Italy.