Toyota Tsusho Starts Textile Recycling Business of Waste Fishing Nets, the Main Cause of Ocean Pollution by Plastics

  • Food & Consumer Services


Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("Toyota Tsusho") announced today that it entered the waste fishing net recycling business in July 2023 to create a nylon-to-nylon fiber recycling system as part of the promotion of a circular economy in the textile and fashion fields.

1. Background

Worldwide, more than 600,000 tons of waste fishing nets and gear are not properly disposed of and flow into the ocean each year, which is a major cause of ocean pollution by plastics. This creates a serious problem for the ecosystem similar to single-use plastics such as plastic shopping bags, which have got much attention in recent years, but it is not well recognized in society. Waste fishing nets would be a promising recycled nylon resource because they are a single material made of high-quality nylon. On the other hand, they are generally disposed of as industrial waste in Japan, and a large-scale and sustainable system from collection to recycling has not yet been established.

Under these circumstances, Toyota Tsusho has been promoting the PATCHWORKS™ project, a holistic circular economy promotion project in the textile and fashion fields. As part of this project, Toyota Tsusho has started a waste fishing net recycling business by taking the advantage of the capital alliance with Bureo Inc. (United States), which collects and sorts waste fishing nets in a way that contributes to local communities, mainly in South America, and owns and operates NetPlus, the world's only brand of 100% recycled nylon material from waste fishing nets.

2. Summary of Activities

In order to establish and expand the same waste fishing net collection scheme in other region and countries as what Bureo is conducting mainly in South America, Toyota Tsusho first began the test collection of waste fishing nets in the Sotobo area of Chiba Prefecture in July 2023, working with local companies and fishermen. Utilizing Bureo’s know-how, the collected fishing nets are cleaned and sorted in Japan under strict traceability management, recycled overseas, and reborn as high-quality NetPlus brand 100% recycled nylon material.

In the future, through collaboration with Bureo, Toyota Tsusho will expand the collection and sorting facilities for waste fishing nets in Japan and overseas and build a procurement system that can provide a stable supply of NetPlus material. In the future, Toyota Tsusho aims to expand sale of NetPlus material not only to apparel manufacturers but also as a high-quality textile raw material for industrial materials andother applications. In addition, Toyota Tsusho will develop and operate a regional development program with Bureo and partners in each region to return a portion of the proceeds from the waste fishing net collection business to the local community.

Toyota Tsusho will create a circular economy system toward its goal of providing opportunities and a future for all discarded clothing to be revived as new clothing again through PATCHWORKS™, a project to promote a circular economy in the textile and fashion fields.

A co-creation business project in which Toyota Tsusho launched on April 1, 2023, building a circular economy system with partners in the textile and fashion fields.
Collection operations in Japan
Collected fishing net
Recycling operations
Fabrics and clothing made of NetPlus

Overview of Bureo Inc.

Company name
Bureo Inc.
Ventura, California, USA
CEO David M. Stover, CTO Kevin Ahearn, COO Ben Kneppers
Three founders, Tin Shed Ventures, Toyota Tsusho, Sustainable Ocean Fund, Ocean 14 Capital, Conservation International Ventures
Business description
Collection, processing, and sale of waste fishing nets, NetPlus brand business operation, social program management, etc.

<Our Efforts So Far>

March 28th, 2023

Toyota Tsusho to Officially Launch PATCHWORKS™, a Project to Promote Circular Economy in the Textile and Fashion Field

The information in this release is current as of the date of announcement.
Please note that information may change after the date of announcement. Thank you in advance for your understanding.