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Bottle plastic, bottles, glass and metal cans

Urgent help needed for ‘Bottles From…’

‘Bottles From…’ is a one-of-a-kind environmental project, catalysed by the government’s proposal to include a Deposit Return Scheme for drinking containers in the coming Environmental Bill. We are urged by Andy Dinsdale, executive director for Strandliners, a local community interest company (CIC), to record any glass or plastic drinking bottles and metal cans we see in our rural and urban environments and send our information to them by 31 May. HOT’s Zelly Restorick writes.

“We are asking everyone– everywhere– in all environments – to record every glass, metal and plastic drinking bottle that crosses their path – on the beach, riverbank, park, street… everywhere in public,” says Andy, who dedicates a lot of his waking hours to Strandliners, passionate about resolving this issue.

“This data will highlight the local situation, but we also offer the figures to the Marine Conservation Society, who have a larger campaign. But I don’t know of anyone else who is doing this in the way that we’re doing it.

“This is something you can do with your family, friends, at school, college, work… this is a 24/7 ‘be aware’ mission for us. We would really appreciate the support of anyone wanting to contribute to a cleaner local – and beyond – urban and rural environment.”

Strandliners is an Andy-catalysed, all-volunteer, grassroots organisation based in East Sussex, usually focusing on marine and riverine environments, although both rural and urban domains are included in this particular project.

Photo: Strandliners

Urgent deadline: 31 May

“If you want to see fewer plastic and glass bottles and cans in our environment, this is the time to do something! Start recording. Go out. Find them. Now lockdown is receding, get out with a mission – find a bottle and record it for us between now and 31 May– we’ll do the rest.” Send your findings to: bottlesfrom@gmail.com, adding their location to the subject e.g. Bottles from Hastings.

Please tell us where you found them (beach, river etc.), how many and what type (glass, plastic, metal) and their size (small = under 750 ml, large = 750 ml or over). Include a photo if possible.

Bottles plastic, bottles glass and metal cans.

Andy sees our discarded drinking containers as one of the worst human-made offenders: glass bottles, plastic bottles, metal cans, etc. The government are proposing to include a drinking container Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in the coming Environment Bill. It is vitally important that all these discarded drinking containers are recorded NOW as the consultation ends on 4 June.

Photo: Rebecca Lewis

Partial or full Deposit Return Scheme

Strandliners will collate all the different types of material – and their sizes – and feed this data back to the government. Then the government will be able to make an informed decision about a partial or full Deposit Return Scheme.

“Why is this so important?” I ask Andy. “Because government may only choose a partial DRS rather than a full DRS if they don’t understand the full extent of the problem. If we are fed up of seeing these plastic, metal and glass drinking containers in natural environments, we need a fully inclusive DRS.”

And for us humans to be careful and thoughtful in how we discard our unwanted rubbish, I add quietly.

Bottle plastic, bottles, glass and metal cans

“If we have a fully inclusive DRS”, says Andy, “these drinking containers would all have a monetary value and therefore will be less likely to be discarded, whether accidentally or on purpose.”

This ‘on purpose’ part is really important to Andy, “as sometimes when we see rubbish discarded, we can automatically blame someone.”

Photo: Strandliners

Non-blame perspective

“This is about us asking questions, not about blaming anyone.”

Strandliners “engages with ‘polluters” as stakeholders, not adversaries. It’s a cross-community effort. “If we work together, we all have a better chance of turning back the plastic tide”, writes Andy on the website.

“So far we have nearly 1,200 bottle and can recordings locally (within Hastings and Rother) since the beginning of April.”

Strandliners’ story

The core of Strandliners’ mission is recording the rubbish and litter pollution that is in our marine and riverine environments. Why? Because only when you record this pollution can you begin to reduce the amount at source.

“Many people are aware of the challenge – of plastic pollution specifically – and walking at the beach or riverbank, they’ll pick up larger items and put them in the bin”, says Andy. “However, we need to work out a way where everyone can record exactly what they’re removing from the natural environment so that we can change how things are.”

Strandliners’ volunteers collecting human-made rubbish on the beach. Photo: Strandliners

Dedicated team of volunteers
 
Strandliners’ continuing existence and power is down to its dedicated team of volunteers, who each participated in the UN Environmental Programme: the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on marine litter.

Andy Dinsdale, a dedicated, caring and passionate man

“I’ve been surveying beaches since 2004,” Andy told me. “Strandliners came about in 2012 and became a CIC in 2018. It’s all totally reliant on the brilliant volunteers.” I asked what the volunteers contribute.“Keeping me focused and keeping me going”, laughs Andy.

“They also pick up items of rubbish, collate their findings on survey sheets, bag up the rubbish and take it away, upload data to national and international organisations, deal with membership, editing for magazines, proof-reading, writing articles, baking cakes and biscuits to keep us all going in all weathers, planning strategies to spread the word. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without them.”

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Posted 04:35 Tuesday, May 4, 2021 In: Nature

Also in: Nature

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