An abandoned fishing net, washed up on Church Cove Beach is to be recycled and turned into clothing thanks to a recycling collaboration between Cornish companies and charities.

Helston based clothing specialist Fourth Element, working alongside environmental charities the National Trust and Surfers Against Sewage, Mitchell’s Haulage and The Green Waste Company in Hayle are collaborating to tackle one of the largest fishing nets to wash up on the Cornish coastline, as part of an initiative to eliminate this form of environmental pollution.

The net was collected on March 22 and delivered by Helston based Mitchell Haulage to the Green Waste Company in Hayle, which is working with Surfers Against Sewage to ‘stockpile’ and investigate recycling streams. It is intended that this will be able to be recycled into nylon yarn and used in the manufacture of Fourth Element’s swimwear line, OceanPositive. The swimwear is made with 78% Econyl(R) a fully recycled yarn made from nylon fishing gear.

“The net has been sitting on the beach at Church Cove for a while, but we didn’t want to just put it in a skip to landfill. The sheer weight and bulk of this net has meant it’s a big logistical challenge to dispose of it.” said Mike Hardy, National Trust Lead Ranger for Penrose. " Thanks to the support of volunteers we clear tonnes of marine rubbish from beaches all year round, so it’s great to know that this net may have a second life as clothing,”

Nylon fishing net is a familiar site to anyone walking the coastline of Cornwall and whilst it is an unsightly visual pollutant, much more of it remains below the water, where, having become snagged and trapped, it continues to “fish”, catching and killing marine life. Removing and recycling this net is just part of protecting the natural environment.

“We are keen to increase recycling in Cornwall which is only possible through goodwill and collaborative working” Felicity Richards director of The Green Waste Company enthused “ It falls to all of us to save valuable resources and look after our beautiful environment”

Now, global initiatives are removing much of this netting with over 100,000 tones removed from the sea in 2015, thanks to the activity of scuba divers, fishermen and local shore based projects.

“The net collection is a small part of the story, as we hope to create a demand for a more responsibly sourced product in the form of our swimwear and rash guards,” said Paul Strike, Managing Director of Fourth Element. “ We hope to inspire consumers to think about what they buy, and ask themselves if they could buy an alternative that was better for the environment, or supported the work of marine charities.”

Fourth Element and Surfers against Sewage are members of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, a global movement to raise awareness of and explore solutions to the dangers of Ghost Fishing nets.