The Net-Works program enables local residents in coastal communities to collect and sell discarded fishing nets for carpet tile production, supporting the local economy and safeguarding the environment.

The Net-Works program enables fishing communities in developing countries to collect and sell discarded fishing nets, providing a source of recycled materials for use in carpet tile production. So far, local residents have collected and recycled more than 195 tonnes of discarded fishing nets – enough to circumvent the world three times.

Net-Works connects coastal communities and global brands to benefit the local economy and safeguard the environment. The chain starts with local fishermen collecting discarded nets from the coastline that are then sold via Net-Works. The nets are then shipped to a plant that recycles the nets into nylon yarn, which are then purchased by Interface – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of carpet tiles. The Net-Works project supports Interface’s goal of sourcing 100% recycled materials for its carpet tiles by 2020.

To support the local communities and promote economic growth, Net-Works provides financial services like micro-loans through community banks. This enables people to build savings and improve their livelihoods.

Why you should care

Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear in the oceans makes up around 10% of all marine litter. Abandoned fishing nets are the main cause of so-called ‘ghost fishing’, through which lost or discarded nets wreck coral reefs and entangle fish, marine mammals and birds. By collecting the discarded nets, the Net-Works project protects the natural environment while providing jobs for local residents.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Decent work and economic growth

The solution has provided access to financial services for over 1,500 families and opens new economic opportunities to coastal villagers.

Responsible consumption and production

Transforming hazardous ocean waste into valuable raw material, redefines concepts about production and consumption.

Life below water

Net-Works reduces the number of abandoned nets in ocean and thereby protects aquatic life from the dangers of ‘ghost fishing’.

Partnerships for the goals

The different actors and companies that are driving the Net-Works project serve as an example of how partnerships can create new value from a typical waste stream for all involved.