A few months ago, I was in Bar Harbor, Maine for the Northeast Region Stranding Conference. (Great conference and awesome group of people, by the way!) While there, I visited the Bar Harbor Whale Museum. It’s a fabulous place with lots of hands-on displays, beautifully articulated skeletons, and information on marine mammals and whale research in Maine. I highly recommend visiting.
No trip to a museum is complete without stopping in the museum’s gift shop, and the Whale Museum is no exception. While browsing, the first thing that caught my eye were these really cool doormats. My natural fiber doormats had all but disintegrated and I was in the market for new ones. And these were something else – doormats made from recycled rope!
Handwoven from recycled lobster trap float rope, these “Down East Doormats™” are truly unique. They are colorful, sturdy, reversible, quick drying, mold-resistant, and easy to clean. Best of all, they are a fantastic story of recycling and environmental responsibility.
You see, Maine (and Massachusetts) recently outlawed the floating rope that was used to tether lobster traps together on the ocean floor. It turned out that endangered Right Whales were becoming entangled in the rope as they swam through the water. New, non-floating rope rests on the bottom and is safer for whales while still allowing fishing folk to easily retrieve connected lines of lobster traps.
But what to do with all the leftover float rope? The Maine Float-Rope Company™ had a solution. They made them into doormats! In a win-win-win solution, the float rope is removed from the environment and the whales are safer, the Maine lobstermen receive income from their old rope, AND the old rope is kept out of the landfill. Additionally, the Maine Float-Rope Company™ gives a percentage of its sales to the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and other non-profit environmental organizations.
But does it work? After using the new doormat for several weeks, I LOVED IT! It scraped clean my shoes, never got soggy, and continues to look new. Plus, it’s just fun to walk on. I decided to buy another mat for my back door.
Genuine recycled Down East Doormats™ are now available in the National Marine Life Center’s Gift Shop. Stop by and check them out!