The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust will today ship its first load of marine debris to the mainland for recycling.
The organisation has joined the Beach Plastics Recycling Scheme provided by TerraCycle, a company that specialises in typically 'hard-to-recycle' waste.
Nikki Banfield, the IOSWT's Communications Officer, wrote on its website: "Tuesday 10th October 2017 is a pretty special date for us here at the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust. It is the date that our first batch of beach and marine plastics, collected from beach cleans over the past few months, is being shipped out of the Islands to be recycled!"
During 2017, the Trust and community volunteers have collected just under two tonnes of marine debris from the islands' beaches and coastlines through individual #2MinuteBeachCleans and organised cleans such as Debris & Donuts.
Nikki explained: "I originally started 2017 with the plan to collect and store all of the plastic bottles I gathered from around Scilly's coastline. Why? Because I wanted to be able to not only count how many were collected but show people what this actually looked like at the end of the year. A number doesn't mean a lot when presented to most people but physically seeing what that number looks like, that's a whole different ball game."
Approximately 75% of the debris is rigid plastic, which Nikki learned earlier this summer can be taken by TerraCycle.
"So, I've been delving through bags of marine debris, sorting and separating and we've now got to the point where our first shipment is ready to exit the Islands. A total of four large dumpy bags are now ready to go. Crammed with all sorts of rigid plastics found on our beaches and around our coastline: bottles, buckets, broken fish boxes, parts of cars, abandoned children's beach toys (the recovered wheelie bin will have to wait until the next round!); it truly is amazing what ends up washing in on our beaches and from where."
The debris will be melted into hard plastic that can be remoulded to make new recycled products, including packaging from participating brands such as Head & shoulders and Fairy.
"They will no longer be single use plastics, lost at sea or littering our coastline and beaches; threatening our environment & wildlife," said Nikki. "The Isles of Scilly Wildife Trust is really pleased to be a part of this initiative and over the winter we will be working on ways to make the collection of marine debris and marine plastics a whole lot easier, across the Islands.
"This year has been a massive learning curve and we hope that those of you that walk the coastlines regularly will see the difference that this small concerted effort has made.
"We plan to make next years effort even bigger and better!"