Internationally recognised environmental charity, The 2 Minute Foundation, has revealed what it believes may be ‘the greatest step forwards in beach cleaning in the last 10 years’.
This breakthrough has been a dream of the charity’s founder, Martin Dorey, since he organised his first beach clean in 2007.
Low grade waste, the kind of which is picked up on beach cleans, cannot be easily recycled and usually ends up in landfill or energy from waste. However, the team at The 2 Minute Foundation have been working alongside a number of other organisations, including Reworked and The Ocean Recovery Project to turn this low grade beach plastic into litter picking stations.
“We have made a prototype beach cleaning station out of marine litter. It’s been a long road, has taken an army of people to organise, with lots of dead ends and twists and turns, but it’s finally happened,” said Martin.
By collecting plastic litter from beaches and turning it into beach cleaning equipment, the charity has discovered a way to make a completely closed loop operation.
Martin continued: “The most exciting thing for me is that we should be able to turn a beach clean into a beach cleaning station to place back on the beach. It is truly circular and fulfils a dream to make useful things out of stuff that’s otherwise worth nothing.”
“Not only will it save us from using new materials to make beach clean stations in the future but it will also inspire people to go and collect their own stations! That means we are turning beach waste into a resource that can be used for good instead of going to landfill or continuing to choke our oceans!”
WHY BEACH CLEAN STATIONS ARE IMPORTANT
The 2 Minute Foundation trialled 8 stations in 2014 on beaches in Devon and Cornwall, inviting members of the public to borrow litter picking equipment and bags and spend 2 minutes removing litter. During the first year on the beach at Crooklets in Bude the amount of litter picked up on monthly beach cleans reduced by 61% compared to the year before.
There are now over 900 beach cleaning, litter picking and street cleaning stations around the UK and Ireland. They can be found on The Regent’s Canal in London, outside selected Lush Cosmetics shops, on National Trust6 Properties, in parks and gardens all over the UK, on Dartmoor National Park and at beaches all around the coast.
A CHALLENGE FOR THE PLANET
The 2 Minute Foundation have discovered a way to turn something that was harming the environment into something that will help the planet. As it takes 3 tonnes of marine plastic to build 100 stations the team will also be undertaking a challenge in January to collect this weight!
They are also looking for sponsors to help them roll out stations across the UK and beyond, green transport to help move marine litter to their processor, volunteers to help gather and store beach plastic and funding to help make the first 100 stations. You can read more about the process here.