Multiexport creating recycling program for equipment used in aquaculture operations

Puerto Montt, Chile-based salmon farmer Multiexport Foods is developing a project with Atando Cabos to recycle the ropes used in its aquaculture operations.

The initiative recovers the ropes, which have a high content of polypropylene and polyethylene, that are no longer used in operations. The material is then processed into plastic pellets for manufacture of new recycled plastic products, Multiexport said. Between September and December 2019, the salmon company collected 43.5 tons of rope for reuse.

The project is in line with the fishing company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the sustainable development of its operations, it said. The project is part of its effort to promote the recovery and reuse of its aquaculture equipment, including nets, buoys, floats and other materials.

In the future, the company plans to incorporate blockchain-based technology for material traceability. With a tool created by Santiago, Chile-based IT firm BLOQS4, the company’s equipment will be able to be tracked from its first use until it is transformed into a new recycled plastic product. The move would make Multiexport the first company in Chile’s salmon industry to incorporate this technology.

Multiexport has a history of industry firsts in Chile. Multiexport was the first Chilean salmon producer to attain group-audit Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for its aquaculture operation, meaning its products are eligible to be four-star certified as sustainable through their entire journey from hatchery through farm and processing plant, and are given feed from mills also certified as sustainable, according to the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), which operates the BAP program.

In May 2019, Multiexport  announced it would end its smolt production in freshwater lakes in the south of Chile by 2020, citing sustainability concerns surrounding these operations.  

Additionally, the company is in the process of building a USD 40 million (EUR 36.2 million) processing plant in the southern city of Punta Arenas, under a joint venture in conjunction with fellow salmon farmer Blumar.

For its part, Atando Cabos is a partnership between firms Recollect and Comberplast, with a vision of restoring the Patagonian coast and protecting the regional ecosystem. It collects plastic waste from beaches, islands, and fjords and transforms that waste into raw material that is returned to the production chain as long-term recyclable products.

Photo courtesy of Multexport


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