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Plastic Pollution Reborn

plastic@bay aquapax water recycled plastic

Hannah Smith works for Plastic@Bay, a community interest company tackling marine plastic pollution in the far north west of Scotland. She collects plastic waste washed onto Balnakeil beach with the high tide. The majority of her findings are waste remnants from fishing and shipping boats, with the occasional household plastic waste mixed in.

The majority of the plastic pollution is made up of nylon ropes and fishing nets, which get caught in seaweed and washes up in clumps. Each new tide brings with it an abundance of fresh plastic pollution.

"We clean Balnakeil every week. You think you've done a good big stretch and the next week you come down and it's just the same again. It does get demoralising but you have just got to think you are doing something positive”

To highlight the sheer scale of plastic waste she collects on a weekly basis, as well as a means of being constructive with this plastic, Hannah and the people in Durness are turning this waste into household items, such as tiles and clocks.

plastic@bay aquapax water recycled plastic

Joan D'Arcy of Plastic@Bay says the process of producing these is simple
"We just take the fishing ropes and nets, put them into the oven, melt them down, put them under pressure and mould them into objects”

"They are actually really cool because they come in many colours and they mix together in a mottled design that looks very attractive"

plastic@bay aquapax water recycled plastic

They have even produced earrings, as well as vases and garden decorations.

As well as recycling this plastic waste, the material collected is weighed and the data gathered is starting to build a valuable picture of the scale and impact of marine pollution in this part of the world.

plastic@bay aquapax water recycled plastic

Julien Moreau from Plastic@Bay says they have already learned a lot since the project started two years ago.

"The first thing I learned is you can't just clean every three months. You have to go every week, several times a week or it goes back into the sea. The number of articles which are in the sea is just mind-blowing”

More and more people across the planet are thinking like mindedly, and giving waste plastic a new lease of life by recycling it into useful items.

plastic@bay aquapax water recycled plastic

SILO, an innovative zero-waste restaurant in Brighton creates plates from old plastic carrier bags, melted down and shaped into the desired designs.

Nike and Adidas have shoes made from recycled plastic water bottles. When plastic bottles are recycled, they can be made into: t-shirts, sweaters, fleece jackets, insulation for jackets and sleeping bags, carpeting and more bottles. It takes about 10 bottles to make a T-shirt. Even items such as yoga matts, skateboards and rucksacks are being made from plastic pollution.

It can he hard to feel positive when the scale of plastic pollution is so monumental, but take some comfort if you can in the constructive way that individuals and companies alike are taking action to tackle this waste in positive ways.

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