Cornish start-up Waterhaul is launching a range of sunglasses produced from 100 percent recycled fishing nets, following in the footsteps of other innovative companies in the southwest reusing plastic waste, such as Fourth Element and Island Kayaks.
Every year, 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are lost or discarded in the ocean. Samples of plastic waste accumulating in our oceanic gyres reveal 46 percent of this plastic, by weight, is attributable to fishing gear. Waterhaul is part of a collaborative scheme that intercepts nets from European seas. They work with fishermen to provide an alternative to landfill or abandonment through incentivising net amnesty programmes.
The company also collaborates with community groups and NGOs removing nets from Cornish beaches and seas. Intercepted nets (often exceeding 100 metres in length) are washed, shredded and turned into pellets, which are then moulded into Waterhaul’s innovative sunglasses frames.
Waterhaul’s founder, Harry Dennis, a marine scientist from Cornwall, said: “Throughout my travels – surfing, diving and exploring – discarded fishing gear was a ubiquitous sight on every strandline from the Coral Triangle to Norway’s Arctic Circle. I thought that there must be a way to redesign the systems causing this problem.
“Waterhaul’s mission is to turn this waste into a resource. Fishing nets are made from incredibly high-quality plastics – they’re an obvious choice for recycling. We want to create demand for this unique material, so nets don’t end up abandoned in our oceans.”
The word ‘Waterhaul’ originates from Newfoundland cod fisheries; a term used to describe the act of hauling in a seine or trawl net that is absent of any catch. Retrieving empty nets from the ocean is precisely what the company aim to achieve.
The company has modelled their systems around a ‘circular economy’ concept. To prevent any of their sunglasses ever ending up in a landfill, Waterhaul offer to buy back your old or damaged frames and recycle these into new sunglasses.
Waterhaul’s range launched in the UK this month with two models – the Kynance, and Fitzroy. The sunglasses retail at £65, coming paired with high-quality polarised mineral glass lenses, which are also recyclable.