To help tackle the growing crisis of marine plastic pollution, leading Welsh environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy is excited to announce that it has joined forces with TerraCycle, a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste, to turn marine plastic back into reusable products.
It’s estimated that almost 13 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. Plastics can be eaten by or entangle a wide range of marine animals, causing injury, disease and death, with about a million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals dying every year.
Keep Wales Tidy will provide clearly identifiable waste bags so that volunteers doing beach cleans can keep recyclable marine plastics separate. With support from local authorities, TerraCycle will collect the bags and process the waste so that it can be made into new recycled products.
All the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic is used to make new Head & Shoulders recyclable shampoo bottles made from up to 25% recycled beach plastic. All other rigid plastics collected through the clean-ups are recycled with TerraCycle’s existing waste streams and will ultimately be given a second life as the likes of benches or waste bins.
Lesley Jones, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy said:
“We’re delighted to be joining forces with TerraCycle on this exciting initiative. We hope that by working together we can help tackle the challenge of marine litter, raising awareness of the scale and impact of the problem.
“Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our local authorities, not to mention the incredible volunteers who work tirelessly to care for their local environment.”
Degradation of the collected marine plastics caused by the sun, saltwater and sand traditionally meant that whilst the plastics were being removed from local beaches the material couldn’t be recycled and so was ultimately ending up in landfill or incineration. Now, thanks to this new TerraCycle partnership, the waste is recycled and turned into new products.
The first collections of marine plastic will take place as part of September’s Be Tidy – a nationwide clean-up campaign supported by Coca-Cola European Partners. It gives people of all ages the opportunity to volunteer and get together to help spruce up their local community. To get involved in Be Tidy and register your own clean-up, visit www.keepwalestidy.cymru/betidy