Growing scheme secures ocean plastic for Milspeed products
Milspeed reprocesses discarded nylon and HDPE fishing nets into toe puffs, stiffeners and a number of other footwear products.
Image © C Vera Tikhonova | Dreamstime.com
During the past four years, UK-based footwear components specialist Milspeed has been manufacturing a range of products – including toe puffs and stiffeners – through a process that consumes waste materials. This has included reprocessing discarded nylon and HDPE fishing nets from the UK and Spain and, since March 2020, the company has worked with the Keep Britain Tidy environmental charity’s ‘Ocean Recovery Project’ to re-use the plastic which is littering the country’s coastlines.
So far, more than 40 tonnes of trawl nets have been repurposed from the UK, almost 30 tonnes of which were collected from Brixham Harbour in Devon by the Tor Bay Harbour Authority. These nets were taken to Milspeed’s recycling facility 154 miles away, which produced a lower carbon footprint than is more typically generated when such nets are recycled in Europe or sent to landfill.
Additional netting has been collected this year from the Scottish harbour town of Dunbar, and funding from the Swire Charitable Trust and the ScottishPower Foundation enables fishing businesses, local authorities and other stakeholders to establish harbourside waste collection systems without any cost to themselves.
Now the English seaside towns of Scarborough and Whitby are joining the volunteer-led recycling scheme to collect both nets and ropes for re-use, and it is hoped that harbours up and down the United Kingdom will enrol in the initiative as it gains momentum.
This article was originally published on page 3 of the November 2022 issue of SATRA Bulletin.