Updated: Feb 13
Beach Care South West is part of Keep Britain Tidy and is run by an excellent human called Neil and aims to keep the South West coasts clean, build communities, educate and raise awareness of marine litter. Beach Care and all its volunteers do amazing work to take care of our marine environments, playing an integral part in tackling marine litter. Following the success of Beach Care and identifying the need to reuse and recycle the litter, Ocean Recovery Project was formed. They have recovered and recycled well over 20 tonnes of marine litter and achieved an amazing 80% recycling rate.
The aims of Beach Care and Ocean Recovery to not only collect marine litter but to give it a new life rather than a one way ticket to landfill or incineration is inspiring. Recently they have been working with Orca Sound Project who are innovative in finding reuse solutions for collected marine litter and together they have been collaborating to build a stage out of marine plastics for Glastonbury 2019!! Yes it’s true, read it again, it’s flippin' awesome!
Not only will this re purpose so much plastic, removing it from the waste system but it will hopefully inspire more new streams of reuse and recycling on large scales. Furthermore, it will bring people together and empower them further, not only at the festival but across the South West and beyond. I am in awe of everyone involved and hope that anyone playing at Glastonbury gives them a shout out!
To get involved in this and other Keep Britain Tidy initiatives please click here. and check out Orca Sound Project here. Also head to Instagram and follow all the good vibes@beachcaresw @oceanrecoveryproject @orcasoundproject.
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to Exeter Recycling Centre to get involved in the collaboration and help sort the marine litter so that the plastics can be separated to be shredded, ready for stage building. Truthfully, I have always wanted to go behind the scenes at the Recycling Centre to see the reality of waste and hopefully inspire myself to think of more creative reuse ideas and it was certainly an important experience for me.
We spent hours sorting through the marine litter, not that we completed the whole task in one day as there was approximately ten tonnes collected altogether. Mega! From what I could make out, most of the marine litter was from the fishing industry; crates, pots and lines etc and of course there was a crazy amount of plastic bottles, milk containers, tin cans and just discarded crap. Positively, I found very few plastic bags, which for me shows that alongside human choice and government intervention, change is happening and there is a reduction in plastic bag use. Read more here.
My day was an absolute eye opener to see so much waste together knowing where it had come from but it was encouraging to be able to separate the vast majority of it to be reused and recycled. I also found it heartwarming to consider the efforts that so many coastal communities have made and that all the waste I saw was now off our beaches thanks to amazing voluntary work. I sat amid the massive pile of dumpy bags to contemplate the impact of humans on the environment and it was deep.
It is no secret that the waste and litter we produce is a huge issue both on our coasts and across the World but the uprising in awareness and the campaigns in progress provide so much hope for change. I've written this blog to share my experience and to shout out to the positive actions taking place and differences being made. The work of many individuals, communities, small businesses and large companies is enlightening and there is so much more to come. The next steps in my mind are to build on what has happened and forge ahead with more innovations. Plastic is only one type of material in the waste system, be it a big one, but there are so many more materials out there that also need rethinking, re purposing and reusing to take the strain off our recycling systems, to avoid landfill and stay off our beaches. We are all in this together and we are certainly on a new path to a brighter environmental future with less carelessness and more eco consciousness, innovation and collaboration and I, for one am excited! Without litter free lands and clean seas, where would we be? Happy World Oceans Day!