When you get right into it the technical challenges presented by recycling marine plastics are actually quite consistent across the range of materials, their forms and the length of time that they have been immersed.
As a result it is perfectly possible to develop a range of common technological solutions, whether they be separating, shredding, washing, mixing or reforming, that can then be applied to a range of end-products that are specifically designed to make the most of a particular source or material type.
The challenge is in the end-product design not the material processing. A material with degraded perfomance after its first use doesn’t have to be disposed of, but its mode of use might need to be changed or, for example, the design of its original product re-enforced.
Fishy Filaments has ideas outside of 3D printing that could see the vast majority of marine plastics recycled, including old ghost nets retrieved by volunteer divers, plastic nurdles from beach cleans and even the heavily contaminated ropes used in shellfish farms. These potential sources of raw materials are generally rejected by current recyclers as too poor a quality. This decision is primarily based on the global prices of standardised recyclate, not on the potential for value-added products.
We are committed to a truely circular economy, so while we may not be able to give you any money for your old rope, we can try to develop solutions to help make sure that it doesn’t have to be landfilled.