Waterhaul: Recycling Marine Plastic Pollution

Cornish social-enterprise, Waterhaul, launches a range of eyewear produced from 100% recycled fishing nets, to tackle marine plastic pollution. But there’s nothing fishy about these glasses…

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Waterhaul’s ‘Fitzroy’ frames, made from 100% recycled marine plastic.

Waterhaul is a start-up social enterprise with a mission; to produce functional, high quality equipment, produced from recycled ocean plastic and fishing net, now launching a range of sunglasses, produced from 100% recycled fishing nets. Waterhaul intercept plastic from our oceans and transform them into high-quality, functional products for adventure and ‘symbols for change’.

Discarded fishing gear is the most common form of plastic pollution in our oceans. Every year 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are lost or discarded in the ocean. Samples of plastic waste accumulating in our oceanic gyres reveal 46% of this plastic, by weight, is attributable to fishing gear.

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Every year, around 100,000 whales, sea lions and seals are killed by ghost gear.

It is also the most lethal form of plastic pollution – fishing nets are designed to trap and kill, regardless of whether they’re still attached to a boat. They’re designed to be incredibly strong, made from plastics such as nylon and polypropylene, these abandoned nets will last in the ocean for over 500 years, continually entangling marine life in a phenomenon known as ‘ghost fishing’. Approximately 100,000 whales, sea lions and seals are killed by ghost gear every year.

The company is part of a collaborative scheme that intercepts nets from European seas. They work with fishermen to provide an alternative to landfill or abandonment through incentivising net amnesty programmes. Waterhaul also collaborates with community groups and NGO’s removing nets from Cornish beaches and seas. Intercepted nets (often exceeding 100 meters in length) are washed, shredded and turned into pellets which are then moulded into Waterhaul’s innovative sunglasses frames.

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Waterhaul founder, Harry Denis

Waterhaul’s founder, Harry Dennis – a marine scientist from Cornwall, said:

“Throughout my travels; surfing, diving and exploring, discarded fishing gear was a ubiquitous sight on every strandline from the Coral Triangle to Norway’s arctic circle. I thought that there must be a way to redesign the systems causing this problem.”

 “Waterhaul’s mission is to turn this waste into a resource. Fishing nets are made from incredibly high-quality plastics – they’re an obvious choice for recycling. We want to create demand for this unique material, so nets don’t end up abandoned in our oceans.”

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Though a lot of attention has been placed upon plastic straws, fishing gear is the most common form of ocean plastic.

The word ‘Waterhaul’ originates from Newfoundland cod fisheries; a term used to describe the act of hauling in a seine or trawl net that is absent of any catch. Retrieving empty nets from the ocean is precisely what the company aim to achieve.

The company has modelled their systems around a ‘circular economy’ concept. To prevent any of their sunglasses ever ending up in a landfill, Waterhaul offer to buy back your old or damaged frames and recycle these into new sunglasses.

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Waterhaul’s ‘Kynance’ Frames, made from 100% recycled marine plastic.

Waterhaul’s range is launching in the UK with two models; the Kynance, and Fitzroy. The sunglasses retail at £65.00, coming paired with high quality polarised mineral glass lenses, which are also recyclable. The range is available online at https://waterhaul.co.

Waterhaul is a start-up social enterprise based in Cornwall. They’ve a mission to produce functional, high quality equipment, produced from recycled ocean plastic and fishing nets. To learn more visit https://waterhaul.co, or follow their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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