Recycling comes in many different forms, here is the story about one man who took a massive pile of lemons and turned them into lemonade!
David Bird of Maine, a commercial rope-maker, had quite a shakeup when in 2008 a National Marine Fisheries Service regulation was passed which recalled a specific rope used by lobstermen. (Source) The rope was recalled specifically due to the North Atlantic right whales (highly endangered species), which were getting caught on the floating rope (also called cordage due to its composition). Lobstermen are now required to use rope that sinks. However, millions of feet of rope - Virginia Living estimated it to be a "12-foot-tall, 85-yard-deep, 750,000-pound mountain" - are now being repurposed into beautiful, colorful woven mats. (Source)
These mats, Down East Doormats, are woven from the lobstermen's ropes. David Bird, who had a jig in his possession, made the first mats as gifts, which then became a small second job with festivals and fairs, and has now become a new brand added to his already-exiting retail/wholesale business, Custom Cordage. (Source) The ropes still have the brine and barnacles embedded into their threading. The brine makes these doormats naturally mildew-proof. The ropes are still hand-woven so the dimensions are not always exact. Prices range from $49.95 - 129.95.
The wonderful thing is all of these mats come from 100% recycled materials. The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation "has collected almost 1.9 million pounds of floating groundline from over a thousand Maine lobstermen, giving them over $2.6 million in federal fund vouchers toward purchasing new sinking rope." And while I am featuring one company that sells these mats, there are many other artisans who produce them in the Northeast as well.
Maine Float-Rope Co. (online) 18x30" doormat = suggested retail $49.95; 24x36" doormat = $79.95.
GAIAM. 33x20½" doormat = $58.00.
The New England Trading Company, LTD. Small, medium, large doormats; medium and large rope baskets; dog leash.
Tweed of Richmond. 4035 Lauderdale Drive, Richmond. 804-249-3900.
Fraîche at Libby and Grove. 304 Libbie Avenue, Richmond. 804-282-4282.
Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds. 423 Strawberry Street, Richmond. 804-213-0232
Would you buy one of these mats? Which color?