Beach plastic, be part of the solution
Summer is drawing to a close, and many families are already focusing on the new school year. The shift from lazy afternoons to morning congestion doesn't offer a lot of time to reflect, but we would ask you to take a minute to consider your summer. In particular, we want people to think back on any beach visits they may have enjoyed.
From sunbathing to surfing, beaches offer so much fun and the chance to create great memories. The fact thousands of families will fill the car and drive to the seaside each year proves this. In recent years, coastal areas such as Ballintoy or Murlough Bay's Blue Flag beach have gained televised fame and drawn tourists from across the globe. So the question is, how do we keep these beautiful locations in their best shape?
Problems facing beaches.
Our shorelines are affected by fertilisers, sewage overflows and boat runoffs to name a few. These problems affect both the aesthetic and wildlife in these locations, but they only the tip of the iceberg. Unsurprisingly, the most significant challenge facing our beaches is waste. In 2017 the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) noted beach waste had risen a staggering 10%. At the heart of this problem, lies the widespread issue of our relationship with plastic.
Ahead of 2018's 'Latte levy', the MCS had made recommendations to government to tax single-use plastics, such as coffee cups and straws. The group backed up their claim by pointing out that the plastic bag levy dramatically reduced the number of bags on beaches. While we associate the plastic problem with cosmopolitan lifestyles, it's also a problem that tourists, domestic and foreign, bring to the beach.
At ReGen-Waste, we've been addressing plastic waste since our inception, and we continue to look for innovative ways to dispose of the material. Our work prevents plastic sheeting and rigid plastics from wasting away at landfill and becoming an eyesore. We also recycle plastic bottles, one of the most commonly disposed of items on our seafronts. As a company who invests 10% of turnover into R&D, we strive to improve our methods and recycling volume continually.
In 2018, more companies from outside our sector have turned their eyes to the issue of ocean waste. Head & Shoulders hare making bottles using plastic from the sea; meanwhile, Adidas released a range of running shoes made from recovered materials. Without a doubt, it is great to see these international giants addressing the problem; however, local solutions are also vital.
You CAN save our beaches.
Like many eco-issues, people are concerned about the state of our beaches, and they want to help but where to start? Some councils, like Newry, Mourne and Down, make it easy to get involved. In 2016, the council launched the Two Minute Beach Clean initiative encouraging people to leave the beach waste free. The simple, yet effective, scheme placed litter pickers and rubbish bags near beaches making it easy to take part.
You could also join a larger group activity and the time to do so is now. On the 14th of September, the Big Beach Clean returns sponsored by Coca-Cola and Centra. This year they are asking volunteers from all areas of Ireland to get involved, community cleans are organised for Dublin, Cork and Lisburn to name a few. If you would like to get involved, click here and let's keep our beaches waste-free.