Hundreds of UK beaches receive massive spring clean

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Environment Updates

8,000 Volunteers Join the UK’s Biggest Ever Community Beach Clean Project

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 April, 2016 – Surfers Against Sewage’s Big Spring Beach Clean delivered a record-breaking 231 beach cleans at coastal locations across the UK during the week of the 11th – 17th of April.  Led by SAS, 8,000 passionate beach clean volunteers came together to remove a staggering 35 tonnes of marine litter from some of the nation’s favourite beaches, recycling an incredible 10 tonnes of marine plastics in the process, making this the most successful Big Spring Beach Clean ever.

Surfers Against Sewage’s Big Spring Beach Clean is now the single biggest week of community-led beach clean activity in the UK. The removal of 35 tonnes of marine litter, the majority of which was plastic, makes an immediate and tangible difference to the health of our marine environment with every piece of litter removed no longer posing a threat to marine wildlife and the aesthetic beauty of our beaches.

Until now the vast majority of the plastic collected at all beach cleans went straight to landfill, a fact that beach clean volunteers found hugely upsetting and frustrating when so much of it could have been recycled.

It was this feeling that led SAS to join forces with Parley for the Oceans to commit to recycling as much of the plastics collected during the Big Spring Beach Clean as possible. Recognising the need to begin viewing the immense amounts of plastics in our oceans as a resource rather than waste, Surfers Against Sewage is delighted to say that volunteers filled 35 bespoke sacks with plastics, which will be recycled as part of SAS’s growing efforts to recycle plastics through innovative circular economy projects, including Parley For The Ocean A.I.R Strategy.

Surfers Against Sewage is also working on an increasing number of campaigns to stop the flow of plastics into our oceans, capturing them before they can cause harm to oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife.

Parley’s A.I.R. Strategy is an innovative approach that aims to redefine industry standards and end the cycle of pollution based on three pillars of action: AVOID – INTERCEPT – REDESIGN.

As part of the INTERCEPT phase these sacks, which contain millions of pieces of plastic such as recently littered single use water bottles, ghost fishing nets, and countless tiny ‘mermaids tears’, are headed to the SAS HQ in Cornwall from across the UK where a massive, co-branded 20ft shipping container is waiting.

Once full, the plastics will be distributed to the Parley Collaborator Network for use in awareness-building recycling initiatives and product innovation.

With over 5,300 items per mile(1), the amount of litter on our beaches is horrifying and often overwhelming but our coastal communities will not admit defeat. 8,000 people, from all walks of life and of all ages chose to donate their precious time to help tackle marine litter on the beaches that give them and their communities so much joy. 35 tonnes of litter is an epic effort and millions of pieces of plastic recycled sets a truly inspiring, global awareness raising, example.

The Big Spring Beach Clean 2016 has set a ‘marine litter revolution’ in motion and the battle against marine litter has entered a new phase!

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage says:“Surfers Against Sewage is delighted to be collaborating with Parley For the Oceans, and engaging communities with projects to stop the flow of plastic into our seas. The single-use plastic vandalism of our coastlines has to stop and plastics valued as a resource we can’t afford to let accumulate in the marine environment.”

Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley for the Oceans says: “Current plastic is a design failure.

It needs to go. But this can’t happen overnight. We need to avoid plastic wherever we can, stop producing more of it, and retrieve and revive what has already ended up in nature. But to solve the problem for good, we have to invent a new material.

Collaboration is the magic formula, because nobody can solve this complex problem alone. With Surfers Against Sewage, we found the impactful partner we need. Together we can turn this around.”

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