Design

Fishing nets are turned into Jenga blocks to help save the ocean

Jenga, the popular stack-crashing game, has a new look that not only lets you bond with friends and family, but also lets you clean up the ocean.

California-based skateboard company Bureo, in collaboration with Jenga founder Robert Grebler, has created an eco-friendly version of the classic game called Jenga Ocean.

It’s basically played in the same way, albeit instead of wooden blocks, you use plastic ones that are made entirely from recycled fishing nets.

Through Bureo’s recycling programme in Chile, ‘Net Positiva’, they collect discarded fishing nets and turn them into plastic pellets, which are then used to make the stacking blocks.

“The old nets are gathered and cleaned by local partners, then taken to a factory for mechanical shredding. They are melted and turned into plastic pellets, at which point they are no different from virgin pellets.”

The benefits of this initiative benefits sea life, as well as the local fishing communities by way of financial incentives.

The special edition game uses up 25 square feet of nets, weighing one kilogram (2.2 lbs). It features blocks with images of threatened marine animals, and comes with new rules that educate players on how to protect the environment.

According to studies, discarded nets make up 10 percent of plastic waste, and some 30 to 40 sea creatures get entangled (and subsequently drown) per net.

We spoke with Bureo to find out more about their amazing initiative.

Where’d you get the idea for Jenga Ocean?

“We were presenting a short film on our project at the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival and got the opportunity to meet the founder of Jenga, Robert Grebler. At the time, we were only producing skateboard decks from our recycled fishing nets. Robert approached us with the idea of making a version of the Jenga game from our material and that’s when the idea of Jenga Ocean came together.”

Please tell us more about Net Positiva. How does it work exactly? Approximately how much ocean plastic has the initiative removed?

“In 2013, we launched Net Positiva in Chile to create a positive solution for discarded fishing nets. Globally, fishing nets represent 10 percent of the oceans’ plastic pollution and is also identified as the most harmful form of ocean plastic for marine mammals.

“One of the main reasons is because many fishermen do not have a place to properly dispose their nets when they meet their end of life. Through Net Positiva, we partner with fisheries to provide disposal points for their fishing nets.

“In each region, we train a team of local workers to manage the collection, cleaning, and packing of the fishing nets so that they can then be sent to our recycler in Santiago. For every kilogram of fishing nets we receive, we pay the fishermen, the local workers, and invest in the expansion of the program with our goal to provide this to every fishery in need.”

How has Jenga Ocean, as well as Net Positiva’s other projects, impacted the local communities in Chile?

“By continuing to find more solutions, such as Jenga Ocean, for these discarded fishing nets, we are able to grow the Net+Positiva program across Chile and create a permanent solution to these harmful streams of waste.”

What other products should we expect in the near future?

“It’s pretty top secret at the moment. You’ll just going to have to follow us ‘@bureo’ and www.bureo.co to stay tuned.”

What’s your vision for Jenga Ocean and Net Positiva? Where do you see these initiatives a few years from now?

“We hope Jenga Ocean can act as a positive educational tool to create awareness about the growing problem of plastic pollution on our ocean environment, and also be an example of the positive solutions that we can create.

“As we continue to find more applications for this material, our vision is to expand Net Positiva to every fishery in need to permanently put an end to this pollution through a shared-value model that can give back to these fishing communities around the world.”

To find out more about Bureo and their products, head on over here. You can also learn more about Net Positiva here.