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Recycling program targets fishing gear in Homer

An assortment of fishing nets at Northern Enterprises boat yard.
Simon Lopez
An assortment of fishing nets at Northern Enterprises boat yard.

A company has sent plastic fishing nets destined for the landfill to recyclers for the past 7 years and began collecting nets from Homer and Kenai this year.

Fishing nets, typically made from synthetic materials like polyethylene and nylon, take hundreds of years to degrade. Nicole Baker, is the founder of Net Your Problem. She said they collect and sort used nets for recycling

“So we're collecting the netting and lines from the users of that material like ports and fishermen. And we’re sorting it into the different kinds of plastics and baling it up and putting it on a truck or on a barge to send it to the recycling facility,” Baker said.

The recycling facilities then process the collected plastic into pellets that can be sold to manufacturers to make products from it.

Some manufacturers like Grundéns, have begun using plastic sourced from recycled nets to make clothes and more.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, producing new plastics uses a lot of oil and generates greenhouse gases. Those gases trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change, which disrupt ecosystems, alter weather patterns, and harm human health. Baker said Net Your Problem aims to decrease the need for new plastic production.

“You can just kind of think about it in terms of replacing plastic that is being refined from oil. And instead of using that plastic for a certain product, you could use plastic made from recycled materials,” Baker said.

Net Your Problem currently has multiple collection operations in Alaska and around the country. Baker said the company seeks out active fishing areas to collect waste from commercial fishermen, ports and net producers.

Net Your Problem is currently collecting fishing gear in Homer at Bulletproof Nets until Saturday, June 15th. They will return in the fall for another round of collecting retired nets. All collected gear will be compacted with a baling machine in October and then sent for recycling.

Local News Northern EnterprisesHomer Alaskafishing alaska
Simon Lopez is a long time listener of KBBI Homer. He values Kachemak Bay’s beauty and its overall health. Simon is community oriented and enjoys being involved in building and maintaining an informed and proactive community.
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