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December 06, 2016 3 min read

When we launched our fishing net recycling program ‘Net Positiva’ over three years ago, we made a commitment to positively impact the local communities in Chile. Our programs have taken in over70,000kg of discarded nets since the start of 2016, and we are targeting to hit 100,000kg by the end of the year.Originally from Cape Cod, Bureo co-founder Ben Kneppers is an unlikely resident of this small coastal community in the south of Chile. In Chile, Ben works on the ground overseeing Net Positiva , the recycling program that is the foundation of Bureo. Through Net Positiva, we manage the collection of discarded nets to obtain the raw materials necessary to manufacture our products while simultaneously reducing plastic pollution in our oceans.

While we are proud of the growth in our recycling programs, we are incredibly thankful for the support and enthusiasm from all the communities we work with in Chile. On the ground in Chile, Bureo Co-founder Ben Kneppers has been working directly with local NGO's and the community to implement sustainable projects which are funded through Net Positiva. Working with the largest fishing companies to the smallest artisanal fishing syndicates, for every kilogram of material collected through Net Positiva, we make a donation aimed at sustainable development in the communities we work within, further enabling our positive impacts. To date these projects have included:

After school Environmental Education Program and Recycling Center -  Caleta Cocholgüe - After School program at the Cocholgüe primary school where the facilitators at Fundación el Árbol teach the students about recycling and the environment. The program includes the construction and installation of two new recycling points for paper, plastic, and organic material. 

Community Composting Program - Caleta Cocholgüe - A community composting program is led by the local women of Cocholguë after food waste was identified as a problem in the area. Working with Fundacion el Árbol, the community has installed 6 community composting sites across the town. 

Capacity Building Workshops for Lo Roja Women's Recycling Syndicate - Caleta Lo Roja - Fundacion el Árbol delivered a series of workshops on capacity building for the all women's recycling syndicates in Caleta Lo Roja. More than thirty women participated in the training to educate them on how to increase their recycling operations throughout the community. 

Waste Management Improvements at Caleta Chipana - Caleta Chipana - Working with NGO Desierto de Atacama in northern Chile, we were able to begin the ongoing work to improve the waste management system in the area. They have been able to identify 13 critical locations where waste is generating and where we intend to provide new recycling and waste bins to prevent this waste from going into local waterways.  

Artisanal Craft Training for Disabled - Coronel - Funds from the local net collections are donated to APANDI, a local non-profit that trains disabled people in artisanal crafts.

In addition to the above initiatives, we will begin the below projects in 2017:

After school Environmental Education Program – Tumbes - Environmental education program at Caleta Tumbes Primary school. This will provide the students with a certified environmental training by Fundacion el Árbol.

Machine Oil Recycling Program – Coronel - Fundacion el Árbol is set to implement a program to collect and recycle machine oil from the Coronel harbor. Machine oil has been found to be a large source of pollution in the harbor, thus providing oil collection points and recycling is expected to prevent this pollution.

Bureo’s funding of community projects has been well received, and we are committed to staying true to these initiatives. We have established a lasting presence in within the communities we work. In return, the fishermen and their communities have been willing to collaborate with us and accept the new ideas put forth by our team and the local NGOs we work with. Earning respect and trust is not only key to the operation of our business, it is also key to building meaningful, sustainable relationships.

Shredding Nets - Long hours at the net collection wharehouse provide ample opportunity for skate breaks. Plenty of space on the AHI deck for work boots!