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Compostable Aquaculture Ropes Fight Sea Pollution

29/05/2021

Plastic has always played a massive role in the aquaculture industry; its durability and almost unlimited functionality make it almost the perfect solution for any need.

However, it is also having a huge negative impact on our oceans, with the aquaculture and fishing industries losing tons of plastic to the seas. An estimated 640000 tons of fishing equipment is lost into the oceans yearly, taking lifetimes to degrade, trapping and killing sea creatures and releasing microplastic into the ecosystem.

Scientists from the AZTI research centre have been working in Spain and focusing on the impact that mussel farming has on plastic pollution.

Mussel farms grow mussels on ropes, surrounded by mesh to keep out predators. These components are plastic-based and produce a lot of plastic pollution due to the amount used and difficulty disposing of, once they’re no longer needed.

Authorities in Spain have been putting pressure on the industry to find a more environmentally friendly alternative, so the work that the AZTI scientists are doing is extremely important.

They have been working to find a compostable/biodegradable plastic alternative for the ropes and nets.

Working alongside the European project BIOGEARS, progress has been made in developing a prototype net that uses bioplastic materials of natural origins.

The prototype shows the possibility for the industry to move away from petrochemicals and fossil fuels and towards renewable biomass products from plant-based sources.

Due to the complicated nature of the project, scientists had to experiment with a number of combinations of potential materials to see what would work. The product needed to be strong and durable enough to do the job, not decompose at sea, but also be able to compost when no longer needed. No small feat.

Additionally, work is being done alongside the Itsaskorda rope factory to identify the impact of these new materials on manufacture. Currently, the compostable rope prototypes have proven to require only minor adjustments to their manufacturing processes and the results have been just as strong.

Future challenges are still expected though, with questions about the complications of finding the right components and supplying them, in a cost-effective manner, for mass production.

If you would like to know more about Rayda’s recycling policy or any of our products, contact us today.

Posted in Plastic and the environment, Plastic News, The Plastics Industr

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