Money For Old Rope?

Exploring Opportunities to Create Value from Waste Fishing Nets in Ireland


The Project

Funded by the EPA Green Enterprise programme, The NetMap Project explores how waste fishing nets are managed in Ireland, as well as examining the potential for Social Enterprises to attain social, environmental & economic rewards from end of life fishing net materials.

Through examining opportunities around collecting, segregating, processing or creating products from what is otherwise a problematic waste stream, we hope that our research will inspire the creation value from waste fishing nets in the communities in which they originate.

Our Research

In order to ascertain how end of life fishing nets are currently managed, The NetMap Project undertook research with key stakeholders in a selection of Ireland’s top fishing ports. Recommendations based on the findings of the study are used to evaluate opportunities for collection, reprocessing and reuse of waste FNR materials in Ireland.

As waste fishing nets prove to be a particularly problematic and waste stream, The NetMap Project explores the suitability of a Social Enterprise Model to create value from waste net materials, so that they can benefit coastal communities in which they emerge.

The establishment of a Social Enterprise may provide a cost-effective solution to the labour intensive task of segregation, cleaning and reprocessing materials, while providing training and employment opportunities to rural communities, all the while addressing a significant environmental challenge.

The report considers international case studies in which Social & Community projects successfully use end of life materials to achieve social, environmental and economic gain.

Download Report

Waste Fishing Nets in Construction?

In recent years, plastic waste utilisation in construction materials has become an attractive alternative to disposal and several studies have already shown that waste materials, such as plastic waste, can be used for reinforcement techniques of structural and non‐structural materials in the construction sector.

The NetMap Project set out to investigate if commonly used virgin polymer fibres could be replaced by waste fishing net fibres, particularly to reinforce poured concrete or pre-cast products or to minimise shrinkage cracking. Through a combination of industry led testing, a variety of potential applications were identified. Find out more here

About Us

The NetMap Project is run by Macroom E Enterprise Centre, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cork County Council, located in Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland. Macroom E is a dynamic community enterprise centre dedicated to helping start-up and growing businesses.

The NetMap Project is funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Enterprise Programme. The philosophy of the programme remains that prevention is better than cure and this change underlines the linkages with the other activities in the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme.

Green Enterprise challenges organisations & companies to produce goods and provide services in more environmentally friendly ways and to minimise emissions through cleaner production methods.

The objective is to achieve a balance between economic and social activity and environmental protection.

Cork County Council
Macroom E
European Union

What Next?

Are you an individual, community group, social enterprise, local authority or business who would like to explore how you could transform waste fishing nets into new products? Here is a selection of innovative organisations doing just that, we hope they will inspire you!


Planet Love Life is an eco-friendly organization dedicated to creating innovative ways of recycling salvaged marine debris and educating the public about the harmful effects of pollution in our oceans. Planet Love Life products are created from marine debris that is collected and salvaged during beach clean-up projects. Each bracelet, necklace, and keychain represents the life of a marine animal saved from wildlife entanglement. The organisation also cooperates with fishermen who recycle their old lobster pot ropes, in addition to receiving donations of rope from beach clean-up organizations, fellow ocean lovers, and beach goers. 100% of the profits from the sales of the marine debris awareness products are utilised to fund clean-up supplies, shipping costs, pollution awareness marketing and the organization of future clean-up projects.


Ecoalf is more than just a conscious fashion brand: its mission is to create the first generation of recycled products with the same quality, design and technical properties as the best non recycled. Ecoalf has recycled more than 80 tons of fishing nets to convert it into top quality nylon products. Currently the brand has developed over 160 fabrics by collecting different kinds of waste to create the season´s collections.

3D Printing

Second Nature is a Research & Design project that converts ‘ghost nets’ into digitally crafted artefacts, depicting sea creatures such as seashells and corals that are currently in danger due to plastic pollution. This transformation is achieved through recovery and recycling, 3d-printing and scanning techniques.


Bureo’s innovative skateboards are made in the team’s initiative, ‘Net Positiva’, Chile’s first ever fishnet collection & recycling program. Net Positiva provides fisherman with environmentally sound disposal points in Chile, while Bureo receives highly recyclable and durable raw materials. Financial support is provided to local labour and participating communities, who are incentivized to keep plastic fishing nets out of our oceans.

Once collected, the nets are washed and prepared for a mechanical recycling process. Within this process, they are shredded and fed through a ‘pelletizer’, where they are melted and cut into small recycled pellets. These pellets are then injected into steel moulds to form Bureo products. By 2017, the programme has recycled over 80,000KG of discarded materials, with each skateboard containing 30 square feet of recycled nets.

Contact Us

Address: Macroom E, Bowl Road, Macroom, Co. Cork
Reg No: 361795

Tel: +353 (0)26 205 20


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