Competition urges businesses to tackle scourge of marine plastic

May 25th, 2018 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Staff from Macroom E line out to promote the Circular Ocean initiative. (Photo: Dominick Walsh)

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A COMPETITION has been launched  calling on entrepreneurs and inventors to come up with ideas to reuse fishing nets – which, when discarded, are regarded as the most trecherous form of marine plastic. 

The award-winning transnational European Circular Ocean project has launched a global innovation competition, designed to engage creative and technical communities to provide radical, inspiring and fresh ideas and solutions related to the re-use and recycling of end of life fishing nets in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region. 

Cork County Council initiative Macroom E hopes the competition will act as a catalyst to motivate and empower communities across Ireland to consider sustainable business opportunities utilising plastics from waste fishing gear.

It is estimated that up to 8m tonnes of plastic enters the sea each year, causing serious damage to our ocean environment and marine ecosystems. Experts believe that lost and discarded fishing-related gear is the most treacherous form of marine plastic, persisting in the marine environment for hundreds of years, continuing to catch fish and causing entanglement of marine wildlife. This concern is particularly pertinent to Ireland, as an island nation, where many communities are already subject to the consequences of ocean plastic pollution damaging their environment as well as local fishing industries, tourism and related business. 

Circular Ocean want to hear from individuals and/or multi-disciplinary teams of entrepreneurs, inventors, designers and students who would like to tackle marine plastics with ideas, solutions and product concepts. Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the challenge will seek to attract new ideas that enable a circular value chain through innovative material processing, technology, local machinery, systems, business models or completely different solutions that enable the collection, reusing and recycling of discarded and used FNRCs. 

Closing date for entries is June 1st after which submissions will be evaluated by a panel of experts. Full competition details and entry guidelines are available on the Circular Ocean website (

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