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UCA Research Centre helps save the oceans through creativity

The Centre for Sustainable Design at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has announced that it will be working on a €1.5 million project to tackle marine pollution involving the creative upcycling of discarded fishing nets.

Lending its expertise in sustainability and innovation to the new European project, The Centre for Sustainable Design will work with project partners across Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Greenland and Norway to find new ways to use discarded fishing nets and ropes and the approximated 8 million tonnes of plastic littler entering the seas and oceans annually.

The project aims to create an online open-access network allowing anyone to share and access practical and innovation ideas around reusing plastic.

Drawing on its experience working with organisations to develop new creative solutions to sustainability challenges, The Centre for Sustainable Design will also develop and organise an open innovation competition to encourage creative ideas for reusing discarded fishing nets.

The Centre for Sustainable Design will be compiling an eco-innovation toolkit to support the project partners and members of the public on eco-innovation, and providing remote research, consultancy and mentoring for those interested in learning more.

“We’re really pleased to be a part of this project and are keen to play our part to develop ideas to convert waste into products to decrease marine pollution, increase innovation and create jobs,” said Professor Martin Charter, Director of The Centre for Sustainable Design at UCA. “We know from working with a significant number of
SMEs on eco-innovation and citizens through the Repair Café and Maker movement
that local communities are increasingly taking an interest in doing their bit to save the planet, especially by creative means.

“Part of our role in this project is to continue inspiring others to think of new creative ways to reuse materials and supporting individuals and organisations on eco-innovation. We look forward to working with fishing communities in northern Europe and the arctic region to help co-create and commercialise new eco-innovative products.”

Project lead Dr Neil James of the Environmental Research Institute said: “Virtually all plastic ever produced is still with us today, with more entering the seas each year to the detriment of fish, birds, turtles and marine mammals. If we utilise this so-called waste material for a new purpose we reduce the amount of new plastic created, reduce marine pollution, and encourage new green enterprises. Our aim in Circular Ocean is to facilitate this in the northern Europe and Arctic region.”

For more information about the Circular Oceans project, please visit

More information on The Centre for Sustainable Design on

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