GWR Polymers/ Newlyn Harbour Net Recycling

World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection

The problem

An ongoing challenge for the fishing industry is the disposal of unwanted nets once they have reached the end of their life. Given the high economic costs associated with disposal, fishermen tend to leave nets piled in a corner at harbours. This takes up space and creates significant clean up costs for harbours. Finding cost effective alternatives to disposal in landfill that also support local businesses, has been an ongoing challenge - but one that Newlyn Harbour and GWR Poylmers were up for!

The solution

In 2004 Gavin Rees recognised that the dumping of old fishing nets was becoming an increasing problem at Newlyn Harbour. This was resulting in large clean ups at the end of each year and creating significant disposal costs for the harbour. Owning the recycling company 'GWR Polymers' Gavin provided several collection bins to the Newlyn Harbour Master, who used these to collect old nets and send them on to GWR Polymers. This approach continued until 2011 when further improvements were made to the process. A small baling unit was installed at Newlyn Harbour so that nets could be packaged into small bales and transported to depolymersation companies to supply nylon 6 feedstock. The nets are disposed of at no charge to the fishermen, with GWR Polymers paying for the collection, cleaning, bailing and transport to depolymerisation companies in eastern Europe. From there the costs are recovered by selling on the regenerated plastic pellets.

The outcomes

The project has expanded into several other harbours in the South West of the United Kingdom, including Mevagissey, Newquay and Padstow. The local fishermen play a role by separating all rope and non-netting from the collection bins. This recycling process currently works for all parties.

Since 2004 over 200 tonnes of used monofilament netting in the South West have been recycled. Annual tonnage is approximately 20 tonnes of nets.

Since 2004 over 200 tonnes of used monofilament netting in the South West have been recycled.

Key contacts 

Tom Rees

Director, GWR Polymers

Rob Parson

Newlyn Harbour Master

Participant Projectpb+j