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.
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
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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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.
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
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!
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!
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
Meet The Team
A Multi-disciplinary approach
Eleanor Turner is a Marine Biologist and educator, with several years experience in management and financial services.
As Manager of Sea Synergy Marine Awareness and Activity Centre, she is responsible for running several marine education and outreach programmes, including the Marine Institute-funded Marine Explorers in primary schools’ programme in Kerry.
She is also a member of the Heritage in Schools heritage experts panel and provides hands-on classes in marine, freshwater and biodiversity-based topics.