Peniche Ocean Watch
Circular Ocean is project developed by Ocean Tech Hub Lda (OCT) as part of its Peniche Ocean Watch initiative to create a pilot blue circular economy model that will empower coastal communities through digital entrepreneurial opportunities.
Born out of a need to solve a coastal problem: plastic pollution.
The coastal town of Peniche is one of the largest active fishing ports in Portugal, with many types of fisheries operating from its harbour. The gillnet fisheries is the second largest of those in operation with around 30 vessels in operation. Collectively, they use approximately 40,000kg of nets a year. These nets are used only once, and while some are lost or dumped at sea, the majority in the harbour where they will eventually be taken to land fill or incinerated.
The burning of 1kg of plastic produces 2.9kg CO 2 eq
Although the negative consequences of plastic pollution and global warming are widely known, the gillnets are not recycled or reused as they require a heavy manual labor process and special machinery. Instead, they accumulate in the harbor with trapped biological material rotting before unsustainable waste management companies eventually collect the nets for landfill or burning. At the same time, the plastic industry continues to produce over 380 million tons of virgin plastic every year, fulling an unsustainable and harm linear economy of produce-use-discard.
The production of 1kg of virgin plastic produces 4.8kg CO 2 eq
With this in mind, we sought to devise a solution that would tackle this harmful problem which is how Circular Ocean was born. An environmental and social impact project that works together with the community to create a circular economy model where we recycle and upcycle discarded gillnets into a new sustainable recyclable raw material – PENYLON™ – that can replace virgin plastic in the manufacturing of new products.
Circular Ocean Model.
Our dedicated collection will minimize net accumulation in the harbor as well as environmental pollution, while our collaboration with the local community will raise awareness for sustainability and ocean literacy, incentivizing fishers to pursue and contribute towards sustainable disposal practices. By upcycling discarded gillnets, we will prolong the lifecycle of the nylon from which they are made, thus increasing their value and inspiring manufacturers to switch from virgin plastic to an impactful sustainable recycled material.
Collection of nets
Separation & rough cleaning
Inspection & registration
Products of PENYLON™ material
Washing, drying & grindning
Melting & compacting
Production of 1kg of PENYLON™ material made from gillnets has a 92% lower C0 2 emission rate compared with virgin plastic, providing a way to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the manufacturing industry.
As more companies switch to PENYLON™, we will reinvest revenue back into the local community – through ocean literacy initiatives and upskilling.