NOFIR was founded in 2008 in Norway to establish a nationwide system for discarded equipment from the fishing and fish-farming sectors. The company was a joint-venture between a fishnet producer and a waste management company who shared a common problem: there were few environmentally friendly methods of disposing of plastic equipment from the fishing and fish-farming industries. Waste management companies experienced difficulties with discarded equipment, especially with nets that can be up to 1100 meters long, 300 meters deep and impossible to handle without the right equipment. This gave rise to high disposal costs and provided waste owners with an incentive to dispose of their waste in less environmentally friendly ways. Nets being burnt or dumped were well-known daily crimes along the coast.
NOFIR started by collecting from waste facilities. At first focusing on raising awareness in the fishing- and fish-farming industries and offering several points along the coast to dispose of equipment for free or at a low cost, NOFIR expected to reach a wider audience in the industry. Experience showed them that traditionally nobody wanted to pay to get rid of waste and put any work into it, i.e. pack and transport waste. Not having all materials inspected made transport inefficient and costly, and gave them a disadvantage with their downstream customers. The resources collected had different values and different demand on the market of recycled material. Competitors already working parts of the Norwegian coast could offer payment for the most valuable fractions, leading the less valuable to be dumped or burned.
Shifting their angle of approach to outreach services and offering an overall collection gave NORFIR positive attention in the market. They are now collecting at fixed sites, waste facilities, fishnet producers and fishing vessels, providing all actors with the possibility of using the NORFIR take-back scheme, regardless of quantities and location.
The company acquires used nets, ropes and cords from the maritime industry and converts them into plastic that can be reused. Their aim is not only to recover recyclable materials but also to reduce water pollution caused by discarded equipment from the fishing and farming industries. The company received funding from the European Union within the Eco-Innovation initiative framework that supports innovative ideas, services and processes which provide environmental protection.
They are now planning to create a European system to collect discarded material and organize information campaigns to support the protection of European seas. NOFIR is open for cooperation with fishermen, businesses and institutions that want to eliminate useless materials.
Web site: www.nofir.no
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