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Marine Plastic - Closing The Loop

MarPlas is an innovative new project lead by the Sea Synergy research team and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The project is working on the full aspect of the fishing net re-use process, from collection and cleaning to reprocessing and new product creation.
Using a pre-tested co-design process working within coastal communities in four of Ireland's FLAG regions the project aims to develop product prototypes from marine plastic fishing waste thus creating a resource and adding value to fishing net offcuts and old marine plastic waste material.

MARplas: Get Involved

What We Do

MarPlas will use an inclusive Design Thinking process for the circular economy that encourages and utilises co-design to develop and demonstrate innovative and novel approaches to the re-use of the nets. Through a focused creative and systemic investigation, MarPlas will focus on the following actions:

1. Conduct a lifecycle analysis of Irish fishing net manufacturers and existing net re-use market ready products to identify a clear route to developing prototypes

2. Development of new materials / prototypes for an Irish context based on LCA phase

3. Develop a scalable disruptive innovation and peer to peer (p2p) model for the Irish market


Moving toward a Circular Economy

One Step at a Time


Design Thinking and Product Development

Helping The Community

Project Actions

Innovative Technologies and Community Co-design 

The MARplas project actions can be described under three pillars - Materials research, TY design Challenge week and Community Co-Design workshops.
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Materials research

Our Design team alongside working within communities to imagine a second life for net off cuts and waste net materials are carrying out research on the properties of the materials.
Working with light industrial processes like 3D printing and injection moulding they are testing the properties of re-purposed net material. This research informs our product development with information on the strength and durability of the materials once they have been re-created through an industrial processes. 
The team is working with a circular economy approach so this materials research is vital to closing the loop within communities providing realistic options for embedding the recycling process within our coastal communities.

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TY Design Challenge Week - "Problem to Pitch"

We are pleased to be offering a work experience style Design Challenge Week to TY students throughout the FLAG regions being visited by the project. During this Design week students will work as interdisciplinary Research Assistants, experiencing the full process from ‘problem to pitch’.

Benefits of Participation

Experience working with a research team

Hands’ on Design thinking experience

Learn about Cradle to Cradle design, Circular economy and research

Contribute to real world solutions for Net Re-use

Experience in presenting ideas and pitching products

3D printing experience

Continued support for interested parties to pursue product development

Certificate of participation

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Community Co-Design workshops

Community Co-Design Workshops are being held throughout the 3 FLAG regions the MARplas project is working in.
The aim of the project is to begin to encourage micro-enterprise and innovative hubs within communities to tackle the issue of net re-use within their own community. Working with existing community groups such as - Men's Sheds, ICA, Fisherman co-ops, Craft or creative groups and Environmental groups. If you or a groups that you work with would be interested in taking part please get in touch with the team!

Project outreach

Connecting with our Coastal Communities

MARplas is working in 3 FLAG regions around Ireland - FLAG North (Donegal), FLAG West (Galway) and FLAG South (Cork).

To get to know the area and engage with local groups interested in taking part in our Community training and Co-Design workshops we visited festivals and events in all three regions.

See below for some of the highlights from our initial outreach phase!

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SeaFest in Cork

Showcasing our research at Ireland's Largest Maritime Festival

Cruinniú Na mBád

Meeting the locals in Kinvara at the Galway Hooker festival 40th year celebration

Hooked Seafood Festival

3D printing demo in Ireland's premier fishing port as Killybegs celebrates its maritime heritage


This project is funded by the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP).

The NWPP is a Government of Ireland initiative, led by the Environmental Protection Agency and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Further information on the NWPP and the 2019 funding Call - Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy is available on the EPA website.  You can also follow us on Twitter @EPAWasteRes.

DISCLAIMER: Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the material contained in this website, complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the authors accept any responsibility whatsoever for loss or damage occasioned or claimed to have been occasioned, in part or in full, as a consequence of any person acting or refraining from acting, as a result of a matter contained in this website.

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