13 Sep 2017

Turning the plastic tide

The Isle of Wight Council is working with volunteers and recycling company, TerraCycle, to recycle rigid plastic from Island beaches.

Thanks to an innovative project, the waste collected from beaches on the Island is now being given a second life in the form of shampoo bottles made from up to 25 per cent recycled beach plastic; as well as recycled benches, waste bins and watering cans.

Degradation of the collected marine plastics caused by the sun, saltwater and sand traditionally meant that, although the plastics were being removed from local beaches by volunteer groups and the council beach cleaning contactors, Brighstone Landscaping, the material couldn’t be recycled and so was ultimately ending up in landfill or incineration.

An estimated eight million metric tonnes of plastic such as bottles, food wrappers, bags, cotton buds and fishing nets is floating in our oceans. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, given projected growth in consumption and if business and consumer behaviour does not change, by 2050 oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight); and the entire plastics industry will consume 20 per cent of total oil production. Thankfully volunteer groups are helping to tackle this growing problem at a local level by running beach clean ups.

Cabinet member for environment and heritage, Councillor John Hobart, said: “We are really excited that thanks to this innovative collaboration between the council, TerraCycle and Brighstone Landscaping, we finally have a way to recycle all the rigid plastics the fantastic and dedicated beach clean-up volunteers clear from our beaches.

“This is a great way of both ensuring our precious coastal areas on the Island are preserved for all to enjoy and taking plastic that is harmful to marine wildlife, out of the area.”

Tom Szaky, TerraCycle chief executive and founder, said: “We hope that the launch of this exciting new initiative will not only help to clean up plastic on beaches but also inspire consumers to play their part and prevent more waste landing on beaches. The recycling of typically ‘un-recyclable’ plastic products would not be possible without the great work and support of the beach cleaning volunteers and other organisations like them who do such an important job in cleaning up the beaches.”

Director at Brighstone Landscaping Ltd, Stephen Smith, said: “We are pleased to continue to support the volunteer groups who are helping to keep our beaches in pristine condition.”

The plastics collected by local volunteer groups, with the beach cleaning contractors, will be stored in freight containers provided by TerraCycle, ready for the company to pick up, at the local depot of the council beach cleaning contractors Brighstone Landscaping.

To learn more about TerraCycle, visit: www.terracycle.com

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  • Waste collected from Isle of Wight beaches will now be given a second life.
Isle of Wight, UK