You may ask, “why did Ecomask decide to use fishnets in their face masks?” Or maybe, “what do fishing nets have to do with sustainability?” Good questions! We love it when people ask things like this.
Why Are We Talking About Fishing Nets?
According to Healthy Seas, 640,000 tons of fishing gear are lost or abandoned in the seas and oceans each year. This is the equivalent of dumping 190,000 cars into the sea. These nets make up over 40% of the ocean garbage patch, as this report by Greenpeace shows. Crazy right?
A sea turtle caught in a ghost net | JORDI CHIAS/NATUREPL.COM
The industry term for these are “ghost nets” because they are designed to be invisible underwater to marine life. When a fishing net is being intentionally used to catch fish, that makes sense. When a ghost fishing net is lost at sea and floating around in the ocean, it wreaks havoc. Every year, millions of marine animals; including sea turtles, seals, dolphins, and whales, are injured and killed by lost and abandoned fishing nets. The problem extends beyond the ocean waters. When a bird catches a fish tangled in the net, then the bird gets trapped as well. Most often ghost nets get tangled in reefs and eventually kill the entire thriving ecosystem. According to World Animal Protection, on average a single net entangles and harms 30 to 40 marine animals when left in the ocean.
These nets are not biodegradable which means they don’t decompose but they do break into smaller pieces of plastic. Marine animals mistake this microplastic for food and eat it, which is not only harmful to the fish but also to the humans who eat the fish who have been living on a diet of plastic pollution. So, fish nets are kind of a big deal.
From Fishnets To Face Mask
Our non-profit partner, Healthy Seas, collects discarded fish nets from the ocean. Most of these are made from Nylon-6 which can be endlessly recycled without a degradation of quality. ECONYL® takes the Nylon-6 fish nets along with other nylon waste and everything gets cleaned, depolymerized and transformed into yarn. Ecomask uses the ECONYL® yarn for our face masks. Specifically, we use this material on the outermost layer of the mask.
ECONYL® yarn is a durable, high-quality material that’s soft to touch. In addition, the production of ECONYL® doesn’t require new raw materials. This yarn allows us to turn pure waste into beautiful, brand new things. By using this material we are able to help clean up pollution and reduce the environmental impact of our own manufacturing. It’s a win-win.
You Can Be Part Of The Solution
With every purchase of an Ecomask we donate 1% to Healthy Seas to keep fighting the good fight of ocean clean up and marine life preservation.
If you want to become part of the change and contribute to cleaner oceans, free from microplastics, free from harm to marine biodiversity, and contribute to a sustainable circular economy we encourage you to seek out brands using ECONYL® there are so many! Here are a few of our friends:
AOIFE - bespoke bags
DANSEZ - dance and active wear
Shark Rebellion - competitive swim wear
Crystal Flow - active and swim wear
Become part of the #ecomaskfamily where it is possible to battle both climate change and the COVID-19 crisis. Remember wearing is caring!