In pursuit of innovative and sustainable solutions for marine plastic waste, the Circular Ocean project seeks to inspire enterprises and entrepreneurs to realise the hidden opportunities of discarded fishing nets and ropes in the Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) region.

Led by the ERI, Circular Ocean has been funded to tackle the increasing problem of marine pollution by encouraging the ‘upcycling’ and ‘repurposing’ of plastic litter. The €1.5 million ‘Circular Ocean’ project is being led by the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) of the North Highland College UHI and aims to turn waste plastic from the sea into a useful resource and support the move to a more circular economy.

As increasing levels of marine litter is particularly pertinent to the NPA region, the Circular Ocean project will act as a catalyst to motivate and empower remote communities to develop sustainable and green business opportunities that will enhance income generation and retention within local regions.

Through transnational collaboration and eco-innovation Circular Ocean will develop, share and test new sustainable solutions to incentivise the collection and reprocessing of discarded fishing nets and assist the movement towards a more circular economy.

The Circular Ocean project was the proud the winner of the inaugural Public Choice Award at the European Commission’s RegioStars 2016 Awards, and a finalist in the category Sustainable Growth:Circular Economy.

Circular Ocean is led by the Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College UHI (Scotland), and is funded under the ERDF Interreg VB Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Programme. It has partners in Rep. of Ireland (Macroom E), England (The Centre for Sustainable Design®, University for the Creative Arts), Greenland (Arctic Technology Centre), and Norway (Norwegian University of Science and Technology).


For further information on Circular Ocean, contact Dr Neil James, Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College UHI at or see