Star Socks’ Healthy Seas Initiative Cleans Up Oceans One Sock at a Time

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Dutch company Star Sock to produce socks made out of recycled fishing nets.

Star Sock, the company that manufactures sportswear and performance socks for labels such as Lotto, Dakar and New Balance, will soon be making socks with yarn made out of recovered fishing nets. The recently launched Healthy Seas Initiative is a cooperative effort between Star Sock, Aquafil (producer of the recycled yarn) and the ECNC Land & Sea Group non-profit to create more awareness of marine waste issues among consumers, companies and policymakers. Although recycled fishing nets have been utilized in the B2B sector for carpeting, Star Socks’ venture marks the first fishing net recycling scheme for consumer products.

healthy seas initiative

The Healthy Seas Initiative is focusing on removing waste litter from our oceans and re-utilizing it in cost-effective and sustainable ways. Abandoned fishing nets make up to 640,000 tons of waste in the oceans, accounting for nearly one-tenth of all marine litter.  Often made out of nylon and polyester, these nets remain in the marine ecosystems for hundreds of years and can easily capture and cause the deaths of animals such as dolphins, turtles and marine birds.

healthy seas initiative

Star Sock became fascinated by Aquafil’s recycled yarn when looking for more sustainable production practices, and so brought them in contact with the ECNC biodiversity restoration group to develop a collaborative biodiversity project. Since discarded fishing nets are an impending issue in nearly all bodies of water, the project is applicable worldwide. However, the company has decided to initially test pilot the initiative in Europe, eventually hoping to create a recycling system where nets are delivered directly to the recycling facility.  This would cut out all of the harm caused by dumping waste into the oceans and dramatically cut the costs of obtaining material for recycling.

Star Sock’s goal is to produce half of all their socks with minimal negative ecological and social impact by the end of 2015, and with no negative impact by 2020. The ambition will hopefully be implemented into the manufacturing of each product line by the third decade of the 21st century. Although small, the company is very dedicated to developing a sustainable approach for their entire supply chain. Star Sock is efficiently working towards creating sustainable solutions to offer the “best possible socks for all consumers, both for your feet and our entire environment”. Keep an eye out for socks, swimwear and underwear made out of recycled fishing nets in the coming year.

Images: Star Sock