We have a BIG problem!
Fancy body boarding this summer? What could be more fun?! But we have a big problem. Cheap polystyrene body boards are polluting our lovely beaches – and filling up our landfill - here in the UK.
Over 14,000 of them get thrown away every summer, with many more floating off to sea and damaging the marine environment.
Why are they so bad? They are made in China and then transported over 11,000 miles. But they aren’t built to last. They are made from a 2 inch sheet of polystyrene and wrapped in a thin sheet of nylon. While they might look the part, they usually break after a few minutes’ use. They might be cheap, but they are nasty too. And a massive waste of money.
Made in China, shipped 11,000 miles, surfed for 10 minutes…destination landfill. Yuk.
How do we know it’s a problem?
We’ve been collecting them! In August 2016 the Keep Britain Tidy BeachCare programme asked 3 beaches to collect any broken boards that had been left littering the beach. In just one month 600 snapped boards were collected. 48 boards were collected from one beach in 24 hrs!
We estimate that if 2 broken boards were discarded each day of the summer holiday on every Devon & Cornish bathing water beach then over 14,586 boards would head to landfill.
Transported 11,000 miles, surfed once and then buried. And that’s EVERY Summer! Double yuk!
CHEAP FOR YOU, EXPENSIVE FOR THE OCEAN
Polystyrene in the ocean is a big problem. It does not biodegrade. Boards that float in the sea or on our beaches will get broken up by waves into millions of tiny floating polystyrene balls. Marine life will mistake them for food. The results aren’t pretty. It’s no better when they go to landfill. They will stay there forever.
Think also, of the economic costs of dealing with this waste. Councils pay for it, which means you are paying for it too. The costs of landfill are going up and up, so the cost to you goes up too - with rises in your council tax bill.
Polystyrene is also really difficult and expensive to recycle, especially when it’s been contaminated with salt and sand. Most recyclers won’t take it. So even if it does get collected, you still pay for it to go to landfill.
We were quoted £500 to dispose of the 600 bodyboards from last years collection. So how much are taxpayers paying to get rid of 14,000 each summer?!