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Sea Sure 2020 - LEADERBOARD

How a 200 year old rope-maker is turning the tide on plastic manufacturing

by Sian Killean, Marlow 4 Nov 2020 12:00 GMT
Blue Ocean yarn twisting process © James Pike

At Marlow Ropes we are turning the tide on how we manufacture - the energy we use, the materials we source and the waste we produce. As a leading manufacturer we are ensuring that we operate an efficient and ethical plant, enabling a sustainable future for manufacturing in the UK.

As a rope-maker, Marlow recognises that our activities will have an effect on both the local and global environment and we are committed to ensuring that the negative effect is minimised as far as is practical. With this in mind, we are bringing together our sustainability actions and the eco-conscious products we are developing under the one BLUE OCEAN® brand.

Since 2018 Marlow Ropes have been developing products using sustainably sourced fibres in all of our standard synthetic rope ranges. Most significantly we are reducing reliance on fossil fuels by using fibres either manufactured from waste plastic or natural sources, many of which have launched this year in the Leisure Marine and Arboriculture markets.

"Marlow have worked hard over the last couple of years to eliminate as much waste and single-use plastic from our rope ranges and continue to look at bio-based materials to help us achieve our sustainability goals. We are proud to be making significant changes in the rope-making industry." Jon Mitchell, Managing Director

Overall, the introduction of the BLUE OCEAN® brand is Marlow's mark of sustainability and assures our customers, end-users, suppliers and employees of the on-going commitment and mission to conduct all our operations within an environmentally conscious measured framework. The actions of which are governed by these company-wide BLUE initiatives:

  • B - Being proactive and measured in our commitment to reducing and eliminating our negative environmental impact.

  • L - Less is more. Continuing our quest for less energy, less plastics, less waste, less carbon and less emissions.

  • U - utilising our global position as a market leader and authority in rope manufacturing to be a key advocate for sustainable change across the rope industry.

  • E - Educating ourselves and our stakeholders to do better, be better and act responsibly in all areas of our business.

Throughout our 200 year history, the ability to innovate has kept Marlow moving forward in the way we manufacture. And now, at a time where it couldn't be more important, it is this thirst for innovation and the commitment of Marlow's management team, which has enabled us to adopt new rope-making processes and materials with sustainability at the core.

It's an exciting time for Marlow's future and over the coming months we'll be sharing more of our Blue Ocean story and the results of our BLUE initiatives.

For more information visit

Marlow Ropes Sustainability - photo © Marlow

Marlow's BLUE OCEAN® yarn is GRS certified and manufactured from 100% recycled waste plastic bottles collected from disposal units across Europe.

The bottles are manufactured into recycled polyester (rPET) to produce a yarn which has the same specifications and technical characteristics as polyester yarn manufactured using virgin feedstock.

Provided it has not been mixed with any other chemicals or fibre materials, BLUE OCEAN® yarn can be recycled again at the end of its life, therefore aiding a circular economy.

Marlow Ropes Sugar Cane Packaging - photo © Marlow

Marlow eliminated the need for most plastic packaging in 2019 and introduced Polyair™ bio-based recyclable plastic packaging in 2020 in areas where plastic is still required to either preserve or protect the product.

Made from sugar cane waste, PolyairTM is biodegradable, carbon neutral and 100% recyclable. It is seen as proactively green as it is derived entirely from an organic product, capturing CO2 from the atmosphere whilst it is growing.

Polyair™ is recycled as LDPE 04 (low density polyethylene).

Marlow Ropes Post-Production Sustainability - photo © Marlow

Thanks to Marlow's heritage and global reputation in rope manufacturing, we now have a platform to make sustainable change in the industry. The knowledge we have acquired through selling into a diverse marketplace enables us to work with other leaders of industry and rope manufacturing associations for the betterment of all. A key part of our sustainability manifesto is collaboration with partners and associations that share our sustainability goals.

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