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VIGO – The world’s largest apparel business, Inditex, has commenced a pilot project with the Port Authority of Vigo in Spain which aims to one day convert marine waste – including plastics and discarded fishing nets – into textiles and garments on “an industrial scale.” Apparel Insider understands Inditex is supporting the two-year pilot project with an initial €400,000 backing in what is one of the most wide-reaching projects of its nature to date. In theory, waste will be converted into synthetic fibres for use by Inditex brands, including Zara.

The project has come about as part of Inditex’s support of Blue Growth, a long term EU-led strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. The EU has stated that seas and oceans are key drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth.

As well as the Port Authority of Vigo and Inditex, we understand that several other organisations are involved in the “textiles from marine waste project” including the EU’s General Secretariat of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment); the Consellería do Mar; and the Technological Center of the Sea (Cetmar).

The latter is a non-profit foundation created in 2001 to promote responsibility for the marine environment . We understand that Cetmar will use the majority of the funding provided by Inditex to demonstrate the viability of the pilot programme.

Carlos Botana, from the sustainability team at the Port Authority of Vigo, said the project could potentially be expanded to other ports in future, suggesting the project will see the collection of inorganic waste from fishing ports such as plastics, polystyrene boxes, disused gear and marine garbage. These wastes, he suggested, could ultimately provide raw materials for the manufacture of clothing, accessories and fashion accessories by Inditex. “[This] intends to be the first circular economy project for large volumes,” he added


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