'Up-cycling' marine waste from the Lizard

A ranger surveys the enormous fishing net washed up at Gunwalloe

Volunteers on the Lizard (and elsewhere in Cornwall) have been playing their part in an innovative recycling programme established by Keep Britain Tidy and Fathom’s Free which is helping transform marine plastics into swim wear, kayaks and more.

While we can all do our bit at home and in business to reduce single-use plastics there’s still a mind boggling amount of plastic in our oceans, much of which eventually washes up on the coast. Volunteers across Cornwall work tirelessly to collect beach rubbish to help protect wildlife and keep their special places healthier and looking beautiful. Unfortunately, most of the waste collected on beaches is presently sent to landfill which is something we are working to change. 

The Friends of Poldhu

Last year, Friends of Poldhu (a National Trust beach cleaning group) collected over four cubic metres of abandoned fishing net and hard plastics from Poldhu beach. With the help of the recycling programme this waste will be recycled or ‘up-cycled’ into useful plastic products. For example: the hard plastics are being repurposed into ocean recycled kayaks.

Volunteer Ranger Matt with a load of abandoned fishing net found on Poldhu beach
A volunteer ranger loads a large fishing net into the back of a National Trust vehicle
Volunteer Ranger Matt with a load of abandoned fishing net found on Poldhu beach

A circular economy for marine plastics is a trend that will lead the way for cleaner oceans worldwide. We are proud to be working with Rob (founder of ‘Fathoms Free’ and director of ‘Odyssey Innovation Ltd.) whose efforts have recently been recognised by the Prime Minister through a ‘Points of Light’ award. 

Play your part in keeping beaches and oceans clean

Here's how you can help:

  • Local? - If you want to help us collect beach rubbish join the Friends of Poldhu beach cleaning group on the first Friday of every month 10am-11am (Oct - Mar) and 7pm-8pm (Apr - Sept).
  • Live near a beach elsewhere? - The Marine Conversation Society runs the Great British Beach Clean in September, check out their website for information on how you can get involved at a beach near you here.

Surfers Against Sewage are another great organisation championing change for our oceans. They will also be able to help you get involved with beach cleans closer to home.