RepescaPlas project to apply chemical recycling to marine litter to produce fuel for fishing boats

In the two years since the RepescaPlas Project was started, five tonnes of marine litter have been recovered. The project, now moving into its third phase, expects to obtain new products from this litter through pyrolysis.

The Valencia port Foundation has now joined the project with the aim of replicating the model in other fishermen’s associations by drawing up an action protocol that will be used to prepare individual action guides.

Through the MARNOBA platform, the debris collected was characterised by type and the geolocations of the areas where it was found were identified by fishermen. This information will be used to define a marine litter density map of the sea-beds studied. An ecotoxicology study was also performed on the different types of debris and did not detect high toxicity levels for any of the marine organisms studied in contact with this litter.

The waste recovery process made it possible to use LDPE to build a composting machine made of 50 per cent recycled material and marine waste. Recovered PET was used to make merchandising items. This material came from marine waste as well as recycled material.
In this third year of the project, also with the participation of the Valencia port Foundation, the aim will be to replicate the method in three other fishermen’s associations by drafting protocols that will be used to prepare a set of action guides.

To make use of the litter collected, mechanical recycling will be optimised to improve the materials’ properties and increase the percentage of marine debris that can be used in final products. The aim of RepescaPlas 3 is to make further progress and apply chemical recycling technologies such as pyrolysis to obtain new products that can actually be used by fishermen’s associations. Studies are therefore being carried out to determine the feasibility of setting up plants in ports to obtain fuel that can be used by seagoing vessels. This would be an excellent example of the circular economy at work.

The RepescaPlas project, with the participation of AIMPLAS and other Spain-based research associations, is co-funded by the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP).

Read more about RepescaPlas at

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