Last week, the MARELITT Baltic project group visited Plastix, a recycling company that has a focus on waste fishing equipment, for a workshop on recycling of DFG or derelict fishing gear retrieved from the Baltic Sea.
The main purpose of the visit and workshop was to see how retrieved fishing nets and gear from the Baltic Sea can be recycled. Is it technically feasible to put ghost nets into the existing recycling stream?
The answer, unfortunately is No. The main reasons for this are twofold.
- The retrieved nets/gear from the Baltic Sea (real ghost nets) are contaminated with sediments, which wear down the machinery. The sediments cannot be entirely removed and it is very difficult to extract the fine silt characteristic for the Baltic seafloor from twisted netting.
- The retrieved nets/gears consist of a mix of materials, including lead lines, large metal pieces, organic matter and a mix of different polymers. The material requires manual handling to separate all the different materials that in most cases is not feasible.
Clean end-of-life nets that fishermen voluntarily discard for recycling can, on the other hand, be handled which is a good starting point since this means that those nets will never end up as ghost nets in the Baltic Sea.
The next step for the MARELITT Baltic project team is to investigate if cleaner material can be extracted in harbours when the retrieved nets/gears are landed and by doing this reduce the amount of mixed materials. But also to explore other, more technically oriented recycling options, for example, hydrolysis and pyrolysis generating synthetic gas and crude oil from polymers.
In the spring of 2018, MARELITT Baltic will host and arrange a recycling workshop in Germany. To get the invitation to this event please subscribe to our newsletter.