Wales becomes first UK country to roll out fishing gear recycling scheme
Wales has become the first UK country to introduce a scheme to recycle fishing gear, which will be turned into kayaks and bodyboards.
The Welsh Government said the first collection which took place today – on World Recycling Day – proved a huge success, with some three tonnes of fishing gear collected for recycling at seven ports around the Wales.
The new scheme will help boost Wales’ recycling credentials, they said. Wales has the best household waste recycling record in the UK and third in the world.
Recycling bins for used fishing gear have been placed in the ports of Swansea, Milford Haven, Fishguard, Cardigan, Conwy, Anglesey and Holyhead. They were filled to the brim with fishing nets, ropes and buoys, which might otherwise have ended up in the sea or in a landfill.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said they will instead be shredded and turned into pellets, before being reused as kayaks, boogie boards or in street furniture.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “Programs like this show that through collaboration, innovation and action, we can find practical solutions that will allow us to leave our seas in a better place. condition for our future generations.
“Unfortunately, reports show that if we continue as we are, we could have more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050.
“We will not hesitate to meet the challenges that await us. Since decentralizing, we have worked hard to improve our recycling record from one of the worst in the world to one of the best.
“With an effort from Team Wales, we can create a true circular economy where we recycle and reuse, strengthening our supply chains and protecting the planet. World events show us how urgent this is.
The Welsh Government is working with Odyssey Innovation Ltd, the creators of the Net Regeneration Scheme and marine litter collectors, along with fishing industry partners Surfers against Sewage and Keep Wales Tidy to create the scheme.
Fishing gear is estimated to account for up to 20% of all litter found in the sea. In Wales, fishing lines and ropes were the third most frequently found item in the Great British Beach Clean survey from last year. Fishing gear made up 14% of litter found on beaches in Wales.
Abandoned and littered fishing gear can harm marine life and increase the risk of microplastics ending up in our food chain.
The UN has predicted that the amount of plastic in our oceans will triple over the next 20 years, largely due to a lack of recycling infrastructure. Providing solutions for end-of-life fishing gear will reduce the risk of waste and reduce the potential for damage to the marine environment.
Rob Thompson, Managing Director of Odyssey Innovation, says: “The net regeneration program has only been made possible through collaboration, primarily between the fishing industry and conservation groups, supported by universities and the government.
This collaborative project between us, the Welsh Government and fishing communities will showcase best practice in a sector where it is badly needed and the quality of our seas and the aquatic flora and fauna found there will also benefit immensely. .”
Marion Warlow of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association – Cymdeithas Pysgotwyr Cymru (WFA-CPC), added: “We have supported this project from the start.
“Working with Odyssey Innovation, port authorities, local authorities and community groups, fishers and women engaged with the pilot project team to recycle and reclaim end-of-life fishing gear and hard plastics. .
“We very much hope that the experience gained during this pilot project will ensure a long-term sustainable expansion of service across all ports and harbors in Wales, significantly reducing our collective reliance on landfilling in the future.”
“This scheme is one of many the Welsh Government is pushing forward in its drive to move towards a circular economy – where waste is turned into a resource and used for as long as possible.
As well as reducing the damaging CO2 emissions that drive climate change and pollution of our wildlife habitats, a circular economy model will strengthen the resilience of Wales’ supply chains by reducing reliance on imports from overseas. foreigner, said the Welsh government.
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