The Waterhaul Story
InspirationEvery surf. Every dive. The most common item on every beach clean. In 2018, Waterhaul's founder, Harry Dennis, was working as marine scientist for a charity project engaging community action on plastic pollution. He'd been fortunate to travel the world for both research and adventure. However, the bright green strands of ghost gear that were a ubiquitous sight on every shoreline, from the Artic Circle to the Coral Triangle developed a frustration.
InceptionA key moment was the realisation that all of the properties which make lost fishing gear such a problem; its abundance, its strength and durability, and its entanglement impacts, combine to make it both an excellent resource as a material and a priority target to remove from the ocean. After many recycling trials, Waterhaul was founded in 2018, repurposing the fisheries term 'waterhaul' meaning an empty catch. Unlike it's original negative connotations, for us, hauling an empty net from the ocean is a success core to our manifesto.
MissionOur activities are anchored in purpose. As a social-enterprise, we exist to deliver our mission; to tackle ghost gear in oceans by transforming waste to valued resource. After months of design trials, errors and material failures, we finally produced our first functional prototype in November 2018.
Abandoned fishing gear and nets are the most common and also the most lethal forms of plastic in our ocean.
In a phenomenon known as ‘ghost fishing’, the entangled and trapped marine life will attract more species, resulting in an ongoing loop of catches . As these discarded nets are produced from plastic, they will not degrade, persisting in the ocean to catch and kill marine life indefinitely.
We founded Waterhaul as frustrated marine conservationists - every winter our beaches were inundated with ghost gear and we were finding lines and offcuts daily. Our pile of collected nets grew and grew (as did our neighbours disapproval of the smell) which motivated us towards a solution. We partnered with several mechanical recycling facilities to process various forms of end-of-life fishing gear, and produced our first pair of sunglasses in 2018.
The properties which make ghost gear such a threat in our oceans; the size and abundance of net, the quality of the high-strength polymers used, and the urgency to remove the plastic from harms way, all make fishing nets a desirable recycling resource. And as we suspected, fishing nets durable enough to last 500 years in ocean make for super-strong sunglasses frames.
FOR YOUR OCEAN ADVENTURES
We utilise the strongest form of plastic in our oceans to produce exceptionally sustainable, recycled eyewear. Eyewear that meets the technical demands of adventure, ocean-exposure and UV protection, but also act as ‘symbols of change’ for our oceans. Waterhaul sunglasses frames last you a lifetime, because they are made from nets that would last decades in the ocean.
We're passionate about combining adventure with purpose - action on the ocean, for the oceans. Our eyewear is designed to meet the demands of this environment and enhance your experience whilst symbolising and hopefully inspiring marine conservation. Share our ethos? We'd love to hear from you if so!
Collected from across the coastline of Cornwall. We're also developing schemes to assist preventing gear loss at the source, alongside a port based pilot scheme in Pembrokeshire.
Gear is separated by polymer type, and then recycled through a mechanical process of shredding, washing and agglomeration.
With our 100% recycled raw material, we injection mould this plastic into purposeful products.
SUNGLASSES COBRANDING & CUSTOM
Waterhaul's recycled product story with your personalisations and bespoke branding options.
From team-wear, to corporate gifting, a personalised product with both a story and a positive impact makes an impression.
AS A CLEAN-UP PARTNER
It's all about impact.
We've transformed thousands of kilograms of plastic from our coastline into the TOOLS used by tens of thousands of beach cleaners and litter pickers, each of which on average removes several kilograms more plastic, equating to hundreds of thousands of pieces of plastic removed.
We work with individuals, community groups, charities, corporates and councils to scale impact and bring an inspiring purpose and solution to their environmental action.
AS A COLLABORATOR
We love collaborating. We've worked with a range of projects from recycling material cut free from 100 Fur Seals entangled in plastic to repurposing single-use face mask waste from the NHS.
If your brand shares our values and we can work together to bring our mission to your audience for mutual benefit, then let's get talking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Meet the team
I'm a marine scientist with an entrepreneurial mindset. I've been working in the field of plastic pollution since 2017, but decided to focus on the issue of ghost gear after finding it's presence on every shoreline and witnessing it's impacts first-hand whilst diving. I'm motivated by changing people's perceptions of plastic 'waste' and combining environmental and social purpose into our work.
Driven by my passion for marine conservation and using my experience in sales and the environmental charity sector, I have helped Waterhaul develop from the early days into an exemplar of sustainable business and positive social and environmental impact. Growing up in Cornwall, I have always loved being surrounded by the ocean. Whilst surfing, diving and walking along the beaches, I have sadly witnessed first-hand the dramatic rise of plastic pollution and ghost gear washing up on our shores. Seeing this every day is my motivation take action and make a positive difference.
Before Waterhaul, I taught a university accredited marine biology course and scuba diving on circumnavigating sailing vessel. Within my course, I had a strong emphasis on plastic pollution and climate change, but also the positive impact we as individuals can have on the environment. Now settled on dry land, I'm developing and delivering PlaNET Action; a unique education programme involving hands-on ocean plastic recycling workshops which will enable people to connect with the environmental issues we are facing and empower them to make positive change.
As Customer Service and Dispatch Manager, I manage Waterhaul's customer relations and the sending out all of your wonderful orders. If I am not at the other end of an email thread or posting your litter picker, you will find me in the sea. Having travelled the world and seeing first-hand the state of our planet in many corners of the globe, I particularly want to work towards living and learning of a more sustainable, eco-friendly way of life and that is supported by working with our amazing team at Waterhaul.
As Waterhaul's Impact and Partnership's Manager I am able to draw upon nearly 10 years of experience in customer service and sales to develop new relationships with wholesale customers, identify new partners and build lasting relationships to not only work towards growing our own positive impact, but support others to achieve their goals of becoming more environmentally focused. The ocean is engrained into my family history and has always been an important place for me to re-focus and enjoy, which is why I am doing what I can to preserve it.
As Equipment Coordinator for Waterhaul, I help supply the tools to enable members of the community to take action in tackling plastic pollution on our shores, rivers, streets and parks. With a background in fundraising for a marine conservation charity, it's awesome to see more schools and councils encouraging sustainability and becoming more environmentally conscious. I want to help protect what I love and believe direct actions like beach cleans make a big difference to the ocean - somewhere my family and I have always been drawn to, whether we are scuba diving on the other side of the world, kayaking, building sandcastles with our little girl or walking our dog here in beautiful Cornwall.
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