Last week The Binit team were proud to take part in a beach clean at Dawlish Warren on one of those crisp winter days that make you wish you could get out of the office more often.
Organised by Keep Britain Tidy, two hours on the beach saw 17 bags of rubbish and a £5 note removed from the Warren’s grassy dunes and beautiful, sandy beach.
A quick look in any of these bags tell a story of plastics and polystyrene, materials that, if left on the beach are gradually broken down into smaller particles by the wind and the sea. Cotton Buds, a particularly ‘flushable’ item, were particularly prevalent and what we saw provided us with a snapshot of a recent study from the University of Exeter that tells us that 90% of rubbish on our beaches are plastic and crucially it is not people who use our coast line that are primarily responsible for this rubbish.
‘Many people blame beach users for not putting their litter in the bin’ says report author Dr. Adam Porter, ‘they blame fishermen for dumping waste, but our study shows the majority of waste is made up of fragmented plastics which have been in the sea for a long time and broken down – and these come from all of us’.
Beach Cleans organised by Keep Britain tidy as well as other campaigns at home and abroad are becoming an increasingly important part of making sure we keep our coastlines and public spaces save and free from waste. However, there is little point in these campaigns if waste continues to find its way onto our beaches and into our waters. Whether we like or not, many of us still see our water systems as the most convenient way of disposing of cotton buds, wet wipes and other small plastic items. These arrive on our beaches and waters waiting to be reduced to small enough particles where they are ingested by the wildlife and enter our food cycle.
This is not to say that these vital campaigns don’t have an important part to play but the solutions need to be viewed from a systemic and behavioural perspective as well.
Incentivising recycling either with bottle return schemes or following the plastic bag levy example and placing extra charges on disposable plastic items is one approach to behavioural change. The effectiveness of the 5p charge on reducing the number of bags found on beaches, following an alarming increase in beach litter in 2016, would support this course of action.
While incentives may have an important part to play in reducing our use of plastics and increasing recycling; how we chose to dispose of our rubbish and recycling also plays a crucial role in keeping Britain tidy. At Binit we are seeing how effective this can be.
By taking on expert advice on how to manage their waste streams, businesses in Exeter are finding solutions to plastic waste and litter. At Binit we are helping our customers to sort and separate more. As well as helping them recycle more it is also providing businesses get more value from their waste services.
Separating and recycling more helps our partners sort more efficiently and ensure that plastics are reused, their value retained.
Our customers want to do more. By helping them take a moment to put items in the right bin, providing bespoke solutions to their work spaces, finding a contractor to collect at the right time and finding the right waste stream for what they throw out they are doing their own beach clean even if it is from the office rather than a beach in Devon on a crisp winter’s day.
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