Net positive: A Chilean startup transforms discarded, deadly fishing nets into cruiser boards
Outside Magazine - 04/04/2014
If marine pollution had a fantasy league, discarded fishing nets would be a red-hot draft pick. It’s hard to imagine anything more harmful to aquatic wildlife than a sprawling plastic lattice that approaches invisibly and never stops killing. According to the Marine Mammal Center, a global organization dedicated to marine conservation, so-called “ghost nets” account for 10 percent of all ocean waste, tangling millions of birds, fish, turtles, and crustaceans every year.
A Chilean startup called Bureo is working on a solution—that rolls. Founded by three American engineers who share a passion for sustainability and skateboarding, the Santiago-based company has pioneered a process that turns derelict fishing nets into ready-to-ride cruiser boards. The first model has a fishtail shape, fish-scale grip and is named (what else?) “The Minnow.”
“It started with trying to establish collection points in costal towns around Chile, but then we realized how durable these materials are,” explains Bureo cofounder Ben Kneppers. “We thought, ‘What if we can upcycle these into something cool?’”