RepescaPlas Project Aims to Collect Toxic Marine Litter for Chemical Recycling
The RepescaPlas project has completed its second year and collected a total of 5,000 kg of marine litter from the waters in the Ports of Marín (Galicia), Restinga (El Hierro) and Gandia (Valencia).
The Marine Litter Density Map
Through the MARNOBA platform, the debris collected was characterized by type and the geolocations of the areas where it was found were identified by fishermen.
This information will be used to define a marine litter density map of the seabeds studied. An ecotoxicology study was also performed on the different types of debris and did not detect high toxicity levels for any of the marine organisms studied in contact with this litter.
The waste recovery process made it possible to use low-density polyethylene to build a composting machine made of 50 percent recycled material and marine waste.
Recovered PET was used to make merchandising items to publicize the project. This material came from marine waste as well as recycled material.
Replicating the Method in Three Other Associations
In this third year of the project, also with the participation of the Valencia port Foundation, the aim will be to replicate the method in three other fishermen’s associations by drafting protocols that will be used to prepare a set of action guides.
To make use of the litter collected, mechanical recycling will be optimized to improve the materials’ properties and increase the percentage of marine debris that can be used in final products. The aim of RepescaPlas 3 is to make further progress and apply chemical recycling technologies such as pyrolysis to obtain new products that can be used by fishermen’s associations.
Studies are therefore being carried out to determine the feasibility of setting up plants in ports to obtain fuel that can be used by sea-going vessels. This would be an excellent example of the circular economy at work.
The RepescaPlas project, with the participation of AIMPLAS, the Asociación Vertidos Cero, the Fishermen’s Association of Gandia, the Fishermen’s Association of la Restinga, the Fundación Global Nature, the Valenciaport Foundation, the Port of Marín and the Universidad de Vigo, is being carried out with the collaboration of the Fundación Biodiversidad and the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge through the Pleamar Programme. It is co-funded by the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP).