Interface has completed its pilot project with the conservation charity Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Net-Works™, a commercial venture with both conservation and socioeconomic benefits, established a community-based supply chain for discarded fishing nets, which have been the source of growing environmental problems along some of the world’s poorest coastal communities.
The Net-Works™ program aims to enhance the livelihood of local fishers, while providing Interface with a material source that can be recycle into carpet tiles. Improperly discarded nylon can negatively affect the delicate balance of coastal ecosystems, but is the same material used to fabricate carpet yarn. Between June and October of 2012, Net-Works™ worked closely with local communities and NGOs to research and establish infrastructures that collect the fishing nets and clean the beaches of four communities in Danajob Bank, a threatened coral reef in the Philippines. In the first month, one metric ton of nets were collected.
“The collected fishing nets have a nylon that can be recycled directly back into our carpet tiles, which will help us reduce our use of virgin raw materials and, critically, create a livelihood of opportunities for local communities,” says Nigel Stansfield, chief innovation officer at Interface. “We are now looking forward to expanding operations and delivering the first carpet tiles from our collaboration.”
Collection systems will be established in at least 15 local villages, directly affecting more than 280 impoverished households—the equivalent of 1,400 people based on an average household size of five. The goal is to collect 20 metric tons of nets by the end of April and incorporate the gathered materials into commercial carpet tiles later this year. Together, Interface and ZSL will explore opportunities to expand the program around the world, and develop a toolkit to help other organizations establish Net-Works™ supply hubs.
To learn more, visit interface.com.