A GALASHIELS fashion technology student hopes to turn litter into yarn after teaming up with Borders fishermen.

Hayley Mccullough, who is studying at the textiles and design in the Heriot-Watt Borders campus, volunteered to collect ocean litter in Eyemouth with KIMO UK who help coastal communities protect themselves from the impacts of marine pollution.

The organisation’s Fishing For Litter project currently operates at 18 harbours across Scotland and 12 in southwest England.

The scheme provides fishermen with large hardwearing bags to take offshore to store litter gathered in nets while fishing, providing a means of removing waste from the ocean.

The participating harbours are provided with a skip for the fishermen to deposit their gathered waste free of charge.

Whilst in Eyemouth, Hayley interviewed fishermen on what they thought of waste in the water and saw them bringing the litter ashore.

After helping out, Hayley is now investigating whether there is a way of turning ocean litter from the sea, into yarn to make clothing.

Hayley said: “Working with KIMO has shown that there are actually certain charges and policies in place – such as the Landfill Tax – which actively discourages the landing of any rubbish from the sea. The effort of local fleets and KIMO combined is amazing, with the Fishing For Litter scheme highlighting the gross impact of consumer waste – with roughly 1,400 tonnes collected since 2005.

“I was also lucky to get involved in this project and I want to investigate a future commercial venture involving ocean waste being sold to textile companies for conversion into new yarn. It’s great to be working with people who are actively pushing for a more sustainable future within their own industry.”

Faron McLellan, KIMO UK coordinator said: “We at KIMO UK are very passionate about helping the industry find environmentally-friendly and sustainable solutions to long-standing issues.

“Working with researchers and students such as Hayley are key in finding new innovative solutions.

“Already it seems there is potential to replace our current hardwearing Fishing For Litter bags, with an equally durable bag made from the plastic collected through our Fishing For Litter scheme.

“This not only helps reduce ocean litter but creates new raw materials and products from an unlikely industry.”

Heriot-Watt University is currently celebrating the Year of the Sea, a year-long calendar of engagement that will span schools, the public, academia, industry collaborators, funders and policy makers.