168,000 Pounds of Multi-Colored Lobster Float-Rope Finds a New, Green Purpose

2009 April 30
by Karen

What do you do with hundreds or thousands of pounds of useless rope? New federal regulations are making lobster float-rope – the multi-colored ropes used by Mine lobstermen to tie underwater traps together – illegal. According to activists, the rope endangers whales by snagging and hurting them.

Float-rope, which floats just a bit above the ground to prevent snags, must be replaced with sink rope by April. And hundreds – perhaps millions – of pounds of float-rope will become obsolete.

According to Laura Ludwig of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, a lot of would be melted and then molded into very cheap plastic plant pots and trays.

Beyond that demand, one can assume that plenty of rope would end up in landfills.

Until now. A new company based in Waldoboro, Maine, is weaving recycled float-rope into a truly unique, environmentally friendly home product everyone needs – doormats.

Ludwig is the coordinator of a government-funded exchange program that offers lobstermen vouchers of for each pound of float rope tuned in. Exchanges are held along the Maine coast. The lobstermen can use the vouchers as cash when buying new sink rope.

What happens next?

The Maine Float-Rope Company collects and recycles the rope turning it into bright and vibrant – as well as virtually undestructible doormats. According to the company’s website “It’s a win-win – a safer habitat for whales, some financial relief for the lobstermen, and a cleaner environment.”

So, why would anyone buy a float-rope doormat?

First of all, they’re authentic. Each one consists of real lobster float-rope collected from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a completely unique way to add character to any home – especially those lake or ocean cottages inspired by nautical décor.

Secondly, they’re colorful and pleasing to the eye. Float-rope comes in a variety of bright to muted tones and, woven together, make a warm and cheerful entryway.

And lastly, they work. They trap dirt, sand, snow, and mud from your feet and paws – just as you’d expect from a durable doormat. It goes without saying that they’ll withstand all kinds of weather, are resistant to mold and mildew, and avoid absorbing water – after all,  the rope was originally designed to hold lobster traps together for long periods of time in the ocean.

Handcrafted in Maine, they also provide the local economy with jobs and revenue.  It’s a great idea, a great company, and a great way to recycle.  If you’d like to check out these cool doormats, click here.

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