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By Outerknown Journey


Innovation doesn’t come easy. As a brand that’s at the forefront of driving change in an industry that needs it, we know that all too well. So it’s with great respect that we work with supply chain partners who are similarly thinking outside the box and working tirelessly to change how things are done. This season, we’re sourcing 100% recycled hat brims from Bureo®, founded by a group of friends who saw a problem and came up with a solution to protect our ocean.

By providing fishermen an end-of-life solution for discarded nets, Bureo has kept over 3.2 million pounds of plastic out of the ocean. We're excited to be part of this solution.

“Fishing nets in our ocean are a global issue. No one coastline is solely responsible for the problem, and no one coastline is going to solve the problem. Due to a lack of global waste management infrastructure, fishing nets have ended up in our ocean for many decades. Once in the environment, they continue to catch wildlife and wreak havoc on marine ecosystems.” – Greg Swienton, Bureo Marketing Director

The ocean plastic pollution problem goes deep. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the global ocean every year, and around 10% comes from the fishing industry. Fishermen in many parts of the world, who are just trying to make ends meet, often lack the proper infrastructure and resources to help manage their fishing net waste. Regrettably, much of this material ends up in the environment, as many landfills in developing regions are privatized and costly. Unfortunately, today’s synthetic nets break down into microplastics and continue to do what they were designed to — drift along and trap sea life. That’s where Bureo saw an opportunity. 

“Our whole program is based on developing long-term, trusted relationships with the fishing communities that we work in. We are focused on providing positive end-of-life solutions for fishing nets and supporting local communities with competitive job opportunities.” – Greg Swienton, Bureo

Bureo works directly with fishing communities throughout coastal South America to source retired nets before they can potentially end up in the ocean. By providing education workshops in 50 communities across Chile, Argentina, and Peru plus a small cash incentive, Bureo is empowering fishermen to do what’s best for the ocean and their livelihood. They collect, clean, and process nets into pre-production NetPlus® pellets that are 100% recycled and 100% traceable, all while creating local employment opportunities and funding projects within the communities they work. In 2020 alone, Bureo captured over 650 tons of fishing net to keep this valuable material out of the environment and in the economy. 

Bureo’s NetPlus material has been turned into skateboard decks, sunglasses, frisbees, office chairs, and even Jenga. And now, hat brims! On our path toward full circularity by 2030, we’re incorporating more and more recycled materials into our assortment every step of the way. By swapping virgin plastic for NetPlus in our brims, we’re lowering our carbon emissions while keeping fishing nets from polluting our ocean. It’s not the end-all solution, but every little effort adds up, and Bureo is proof that one idea can start a sea change.

“We’ve been on a mission since we started making recycled skateboards 8 years ago to show the market that you don’t need to give up anything [in performance] to do the right thing — the NetPlus hat brims are just another example of that.” – Greg Swienton, Bureo


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