September 27, 2016

NOFIR was established in 2008 in Norway with the purpose of establishing a nationwide system for discarded equipment from the fishing and fish farming sectors. The company was a result of a joint-venture between a fish net producer and a waste management company based upon a common problem: there existed few environmentally friendly methods of disposal for discarded plastic equipment from the fishing and the fish farming industry. The waste management companies experienced difficulties with discarded equipment, especially the nets that might be up till 1100 meters long, 300 meters deep and impossible to handle without the right equipment. This created high disposal costs and provided waste owners with an incentive to dispose their waste in less environmentally manners. Nets being lit fire to or dumped were well-known crimes executed along the coast daily.

NOFIR was based on collecting from waste facilities. At first focusing on raising awareness in the fishing- and fish farming industry and offering several bases along the coast welcoming equipment for free or at low cost NOFIR expected to reach a large proportion of actors in the industry. Experience showed them that there was no tradition in paying to get rid of waste or putting work into it, i.e packing and transporting. Not having all materials inspected made transport inefficient and costly and gave them a disadvantage with their downstream customers. The resources collected were of different values and had different demand in the market of recycled material. Competitors already working parts of the Norwegian coast were able to 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 a positive attention in the market and leaving it with the advantage. They are now collecting both at fixed sites, waste facilities, fish net producers and fishing vessels, providing all actors the possibility to use the NORFIR take back scheme, regardless of quantities and location.

The company  acquires used nets, ropes and cords coming from the maritime industry and converts them into plastic that can be reused. The aim of the company is not only the recovery of recyclable materials but also reducing water pollution caused by discarded equipment from fishing and farming industry. The company received funding from the European Union within the framework of the Eco-Innovation initiative that supports innovative ideas, services and processes which provide environmental protection.

The company has plans to create European system for collecting discarded material and organize information campaign in support of the protection of European seas. NOFIR is open for Co-operation with fishermen, businesses or institutions that want to get rid of useless materials.

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