Whether abandoned, lost or discarded, fishing nets in the ocean are a huge problem. Fishing nets make up nearly half of the ocean pollution in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to a recent survey for The Ocean Cleanup program.
Ghost fishing nets remain in the marine ecosystem for hundreds of years, according to a report jointly produced by FAO and UNEP. Left unattended these fishing nets, which are often made of low-cost, durable and non-degradable synthetic materials, continue to catch marine wildlife. It has been estimated that fishing nets today can last in the sea for up to 600 years. Still, every year, approximately 640,000 tons of ghost fishing nets are left in the oceans, hundreds of thousands of marine animals lose their life and coral reefs are damaged due to this type of ocean pollution.
Raising awareness of this ocean pollution challenge is something two Dutch entrepreneurs, Bernard Werk and Jorrit Niels, set out to do when creating the Gyre SeaCleaner Watch. It was important to them to use a recycled material solution for the watch.
Werk got the idea of making a watch out of ocean plastics after watching an interview with Boyan Slat, founder of The Ocean Cleanup, and learned of Akulon® Repurposed via Social Media. Then Jorrit and Werk read an article about Starboard, a surfboard company using Akulon Repurposed to make surfboard fins. This material solution is made from recycled ghost fishing nets from the Indian Ocean. After reading the article, they immediately contacted DSM to learn more about the recycled-based material.
After receiving test samples and learning even more about the material solution, it was clear to Werk and Niels that Akulon Repurposed was the material of choice for the 42mm watch casing. The material is strong and sturdy, it does not scratch easily or dissolve partially in water, and is recycle-based—just the type of material this startup had in mind for a high quality watch case. Plus, over the past two years, DSM has worked with Gyre Watch to help facilitate and advise the development of the Gyre SeaCleaner. In the near future the watch’s band may also be made out of Akulon Repurposed.
By using Akulon Repurposed in its SeaCleaner Watch, the startup is not only raising awareness of ocean pollution, Gyre Watch is supporting local fishermen and donating 5% of its turnover to The Ocean Cleanup. Approximately 2,000 tons of fishing nets are collected by DSM’s supplier every year in India, and more than 300 employees work in the recycling value chain. This creates employment opportunities for the nearby communities, thus creating a positive social impact.
A versatile and high-performance polyamide, Akulon Repurposed is 100% recycled polymer, containing recycled polyamide 6 at a maximum of 70% of the composition, and is reinforced with fiber glass. This materials solution is repurposed and used by customers around the world in cars, outdoor power equipment, electronics and electrical, furniture and packaging.
Driven by eco-innovation, a focus on quality and performance, and a positive contribution to the environment and society, Akulon RePurposed may be the material of choice for you next product design.
05 June 2020
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Reimo Nickel, Account Manager at DSM Engineering Materials, began working at DSM in 2007 in R&D at the Materials Science Center/DSM Ahead, CAE group. In 2013, he joined DSM Engineering Materials, working with automotive customers in application development. In 2018, he joined the South-West-Europe account management team. Before joining DSM, he worked as a design and computational engineer in several fields, including offshore, surface and coating technology. He studied mechanical, computational and design engineering in Berlin, Germany, and worked as a scientist at Delft University of Technology and later RWTH Aachen University of Technology, where he obtained a PhD in materials science and mechanical engineering.
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