Upcycling the Oceans

“WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE INTERACT WITH OCEANS”

Ecoalf has undertaken its most ambitious project to date: UPCYCLING THE OCEANS, an unprecedented global adventure to help clean the oceans of debris through fishermen. It’s a unique, complex and groundbreaking project whose ultimate goal is to transform the plastic debris found in the Mediterranean into thread to make fabric.

Through its Ecoalf Foundation, funded by HAP foundation, Ecoalf has begun to remove trash from the seabed via fishermen off the coast of Levante. This is a massive project organized into several phases, the aim of which is not only to show that cleaning the oceans is possible, but that a portion of the collected materials can be recycled into pellets, thread, fabric and products.

COLLABORATION

To do this, we’re relying on the support of those that are more familiar with these waters:the fishermen of Levante. Currently 165 boats from the 11 main ports of Levante are collaborating with UPCYCLING THE OCEANS.

COLLECT

Everyday each boat recovers aprox 4-5 kg of waste from the seabed. Ecoalf has enabled the necessary infrastructure (non existent until now) for trash collection by installing specific containers on ships and harbours.

DEPOSIT

All the marine waste collected (PET bottles, glass, cans, etc) is daily deposited in the special containers with capacity of 120 liters placed in each port which are collected every week.

CATEGORISATION

Transport of waste is done from ports to a treatment plant. This process will consist in cleaning the debris with water and separating it. The rest of the residues will be sent to the differents specific recycling channels, leaving us PET plastic bottles ready to recycle.

PET BOTTLES STOCKAGE

All the PET bottles are separated, stocked and transformed into flakes and pellets through the integration of sophisticated technological processes.

RECYCLED INTO FLAKES

Due to the inequality and low quality of the waste that has been recovered from the oceans, the great innovation challenge lies in achieving madder with an objective contamination level that ensures that the obtained quality thread yarn meets Ecoalf´s standars.

TRANSFORMED INTO PELLETS

The objetive is to obtain pellets with a pollutant level (less then 60 ppm) from the plastic debris with a waste recovery level over 95%. An iterative trial-an-error in recycling and yarn manufacturing stages will be developed to obtain pellets.

CREATING THE YARN

Once pellets with the required purity conditions have been obtained, all technical specifications about yarns defined by ECOALF will be taken into account.

WEAVED INTO FABRICS

The yarn obtained will be used to make different fabrics with specific properties and textures.

Ecoalf Foundation has involved a total of 5 Spanish partners that are leaders in their respective areas (including waste managers, technology centers, recyclers and thread and fabric manufacturers) with which it will share via this project its 5 years of experience recycling different types of debris (PET bottles, fishing nets, used tires, etc.) and the R & D know-how it has gained through its international joint ventures with technology partners that are recycling specialists.

TOTAL GARBAGECOLLECTED SINCE 15TH SEPTEMBER 2015

The vast complexity lies in the low and inconsistent quality of the debris removed by the fishermen as a result of its exposure to sun, salt and water. Now more than ever investment in R & D will be decisive in achieving quality commensurate with Ecoalf’s standards and in demonstrating that where others see trash, Ecoalf sees raw materials. The goal is to once again achieve 100% recycled filaments of high technical quality and textures in line with trends without needing to use more of the planet’s natural resources.

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