Interface company officials announced on World Oceans Day 2012 that the company is establishing a program in the Philippines to collect discarded fishing nets and turn them into the company's popular, colorful modular carpet tiles.
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Fishing nets are useful for only a few months before they get damaged, and most small-scale fishermen (which make up a large percentage of the world's fishing population) just toss them in the water when the nets are no longer usable.
According to the United Nations, these discarded nets make up 10 percent of the trash in the world's oceans, and the Zoological Society of London has calculated that, strung together, fishing nets discarded in Danajon Bank, a coastal area of the Philippines, could circle the world almost one and a half times. In addition to generating waste, the fishing nets continue to trap fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and other endangered animals as they settle on ocean floors.
So the Zoological Society partnered with Interface to clean that up. Their new partnership, Net-Works, will not only utilize already-discarded nets, but also offer financial incentives to small fishermen to bring nets back to shore when they wear out. The money will go to community development programs somehow; Interface reps are still trying to figure out how best to invest the money so it provides the greatest benefit.
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Depending on how successful the partnership turns out to be, Interface and the Zoological Society of London hope to replicate it in nearby areas and even other parts of the world.
Interface is often hailed for the company's commitment to reducing its environmental footprint. Currently, 44 percent of the materials used in its carpeting come from recycled material. One of their greenest lines, Convert, utilizes anywhere from 64 to 75 percent total recycled content. Check them out online at interfaceflor.com.