BY SIOBHÁN CRONIN
A KINSALE ‘upcycling’ fashion firm took centre stage in an event at County Hall recently, which saw international delegates debating marine plastics.
As part of the European Circular Ocean project, the Council’s ‘Macroom E’ initiative recently welcomed guests from Norway, Greenland, Scotland and England to join with local stakeholders to discuss the future challenges and opportunities around the subject of marine plastics, with a particular focus on waste fishing nets and rope.
The event exhibited a showcase of innovative products made from recycled nets, including a local creation by Kinsale-based Mamukko, which has incorporated end-of-life fishing nets into the design of some of their award-winning upcycled bags.
Mamukko was founded by Hungarian brothers Levente and Attila Magyar who learned their craftsman skills from their parents, and have subsequently won numerous awards from their designs.
The duo hit the headlines when they produced their bags made from the sails of the tallship Astrid, which ran aground in Oysterhaven bay in 2013. They now run an impressive website and a shop in Kinsale, garnering much acclaim for their stylish bags all made from upcycled items.
The issue of Marine Plastics is of ever increasing international concern, featuring heavily in the European Commission’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which recommends a circular economy approach which puts the emphasis on preventing waste and on recycling and reuse of materials and products in the first place, as the best solution to the marine litter problem.
Management of end-of-life nets is a particularly pertinent issue for Cork, as seven of the top twenty ports nationally are located with the county.
Prior to the Cork event, the Circular Ocean project was announced as one of the EU’s 60 emblematic projects in their recent 60 Years of Europe, 60 Projects For You feature, compiled on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signature of the Rome Treaty.
The projects were selected to illustrate projects co-financed by the EU’s main investment programme, the EU Regional Policy, and the goal of each one is to improve the lives of citizens who will benefit from them either directly or indirectly.
The focus of the Circular Ocean project is to seek opportunities for recovery and reuse of waste fishing nets and rope, with a view to benefiting local economies.
In addition to highlighting the environmental impacts of waste fishing nets, the project is currently undertaking various streams of research into the potential applications of nets in areas such as wastewater treatment, 3D printing and as a reinforcement material in the construction sector.
Circular Ocean is also offering support to SMEs with a view to highlighting the prospective economic opportunities in establishing a product or business utilising waste nets, while promoting the concept of circular economy and eco-innovation.
For more see www.circularocean.eu or email [email protected]