Sidmouth beach cleaner calls for recycling incentives

PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 April 2017

Surfers Against Sewage led a beach clean in Sidmouth on Saturday

Surfers Against Sewage led a beach clean in Sidmouth on Saturday

Archant

Campaigners fighting a 'losing battle' to rid the country's beaches of rubbish are calling for cash incentives to cut waste.

Surfers Against Sewage led a beach clean in Sidmouth on SaturdaySurfers Against Sewage led a beach clean in Sidmouth on Saturday

Ross Curwen has organised Sidmouth’s coastal clean-up for Surfers against Sewage for the last five years – and while people’s enthusiasm is on the rise, the amount of litter they collect each time has remained the same.

Over three hours on Saturday, 24 volunteers filled 16 bin bags and collected two disposable barbecues, a starter motor and other big bits of rubbish that had been left on the beach.

Ross said: “There was great enthusiasm and it was a beautiful day for it – that definitely helps. People want to get involved and it’s a nice community event.

“It’s a way of looking at how much litter is left of the beach. I had a message on Sunday to say the nice weather had brought people back out and there was already a lot of litter.

Volunteers at the Surfers Against Sewage beach clean in Sidmouth on SaturdayVolunteers at the Surfers Against Sewage beach clean in Sidmouth on Saturday

“The amount of litter we collect on each beach clean seems to remain the same. We can do as many beach cleans as we want, but until something curbs the amount of litter being left, we are always going to be fighting a losing battle.”

He is backing the Surfers against Sewage ‘Message in a Bottle’ campaign urging the Government to introduce a deposit return scheme that would see people pocket 10 or 20 pence if they take plastic bottles to designated recycling banks.

The charity says it would not cost consumers a penny – assuming they return the container.

Such initiatives are already in place in Europe, Australia and the USA and have helped raise plastic bottle recycling rates as high as 98 per cent.

Litter from the Surfers against Sewage beach clean in SidmouthLitter from the Surfers against Sewage beach clean in Sidmouth

“It gives the bottles value,” said Ross. “It’s like the plastic bag charge – six billion fewer bags are put out every year. That’s a massive reduction.”

He said there will be another clean-up in the autumn and over the summer ‘whenever the beach looks like it really needs it’.

Sidmouth in Bloom’s Sidcombers also run regular beach cleans.

Read more about the deposit return scheme at www.sas.org.uk.

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