Ghost Fishing Nets
The world's oceans today are plagued with plastic waste,
including discarded fishing nets or ghost nets made primarily of
Nylon. In the open ocean, these nets continue to trap
everything in their path, endangering marine life. Worldwide
NGOs, governments and corporates have taken initiatives to
collect these nets from oceans and use them in fashion, textile
& sports industry.
The team at Tata Motors Limited (TML) too realized the gravity of this problem and
embarked on a groundbreaking project to source and upgrade the material derived
from fishing nets for use in structural automobile applications. They focused on
developing inner door handle brackets for their Nexon and Altroz models, aiming to create a
first-of-its-kind application in India. This innovative initiative presented significant
financial, environmental, and social benefits, fostering a sustainable ecosystembased
Leveraging in-house R&D and external partnerships
Since regenerated materials have issues related to quality and continuous supply, finding an appropriate raw material
compounder for developing material from fishnets was one of the main challenges. There was a strong need for in-house
R&D, capable and reliable network of feedstock suppliers at the compounder end. Hence, lot of effort was taken in looking
for a capable local partner.
The project was completed in over 18 months. In addition to address ocean pollution concern, REG- NYL has significantly
lower carbon footprint as compared to virgin Nylon thereby saving energy and preventing CO2 emissions.
Amongst the technical challenges faced, the most important was to upgrade the mechanical and weathering properties of
the feedstock material to match the properties of virgin material. Economic prudence dictated that the same moulding tool
to be used which was designed for virgin material since developing a new tool for using regenerated Nylon (REG-NYL) had
significant cost implications. These challenges were overcome by using glass fibres, minerals, ultraviolet stabilizers, impact
modifiers and pigment. The correct choice of additives, its precise proportion and synergic and homogeneous formulation
were critical in the development of REG-NYL.
Tata Motors received several recognitions for their pioneering efforts, including 'The Economic Times
Polymer Award' for 'Excellence in Recycling - Structural Applications' and the 'Most Environmental
Best Practice Award' at CII Greenco 2021.