EuPC signs cooperation agreement with Thomsea to clean up European coastal waters

The European Plastics Converters Association (EuPC) has signed a co-operation agreement with the inventor of a new trawling net to help retrieve plastics Marine litter. This is part of EuPC's programme to address an escalating issue which in recent years has secured prime time television coverage and extensive articles in the popular press.

Alexandre Dangis, EuPC's Managing Director and Thierry Thomazeau reached an agreement on how to promote the use of the new ‘Thomsea' trawling net for use by the EU's fishermen. ‘The net had originally been developed for oil spills but it can now be adapted to clean up floating marine debris without harming the marine life', said Dangis.

‘Moreover the net is totally made out of plastics', continued Dangis. ‘It doesn't catch fish and is 100% recyclable which is what we need if we want to act in a sustainable way to restore our seas. EuPC has researched the market for this equipment for more than 1 year and found this to be the optimal system'.

EUPC together with its National Plastics Association members are now leading and initiating a pilot project entitled European Waste Free Oceans (EWFO) to collect floating plastics marine debris and to recycle this waste in regions where the problem is the biggest.

‘Whilst marine litter is a broad societal problem with irresponsible behaviour at its root, the European plastics converting industry has decided to come forward with a practical and constructive solution at a time when few have positive ideas, only hand-wringing criticism',said Dangis.

For his part Thierry Thomazeau, a former French fisherman, is very keen to use his invention for collecting litter and to promote the use of it in the EU for all fishermen. Small and large fishing boats can use the net and return between 2-8 tonnes of marine debris, says Thomazeau. ‘Fishermen are very familiar with their fishing areas, and involving them after training on how to use our equipment for floating marine litter collection was an excellent idea of Alexandre Dangis. It will stimulate more environmentally responsible behavior amongst our fishing community and might well trigger new opportunities for young fishermen who are currently suffering economically and questioning the future of this wonderful but hard profession'.

Alexandre Dangis hopes to secure the support of the EU Commission and the European Parliament for this project and is keen on working with any potential partner wanting to contribute to the success of the project. The pilot project called EWFO (European Waste Free Oceans) will be launched in 2011 when sufficient funds will have been gathered by the industry and it will last for maximum 3 years. ‘After having carried out a forward programme of approximately 100 tests in most affected EU regional seas we will have a better idea about the potential volumes for recycling & recovery', Dangis said. The EuPC Annual Meeting on 20th May 2011 in the south of France will organize a live demonstration on how the trawling net can collect floating marine debris.

Interested parties such as brand owners, packaging companies, converters, recyclers etc may contact EuPC for more information on this project.