Seaside Scavenge: Swap beach trash for pre-loved goods at Cornish beach clean up

Beach cleaners at a Cornish beach will be able to swap trash for pre-loved items donated by the public to help bring the concept of the circular economy to life.

The Seaside Scavenge, which takes place on Wednesday 30 May between 10 am and 2pm at Watergate Bay Beach, is the first beach clean to adopt the idea of swapping trash not cash for pre-loved items. The idea was adopted by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) from Seaside Scavenge, an MCS initiative that currently operates in Australia under the same premise.

Lauren Eyles, MCS Beachwatch Manager, said: “The idea is to use trash as cash. People collect beach litter (10 items minimum) and in return receive a token which they can then use to purchase second hand items at the beach market, after they’ve finished their clean.

“The Seaside Scavenge at Coogee Beach, near Sydney, was incredibly popular and drew people’s attention not just to the issue of beach and marine litter overall, but also highlighted the importance of recycling and cutting back on single-use consumption.

“I’m confident it can have the same effect here at Watergate Bay. We’re running it during half-term week so we hope it will start conversations within families who will be visiting the coast”

MCS has been collecting good quality second hand goods from staff and the wider public and this will be available for people to”‘buy” with their tokens at the Watergate Bay Seaside Scavenge.

Lauren Eyles says the key thing about a Seaside Scavenge is its informality and the fact that it opens up the concept of beach cleaning to a new audience.

She added: “People can just turn up and clean anywhere along the beach for as long they want, going as far as they want. We’re not asking them to fill in a survey form…we do all that when they give us their rubbish. Our staff will be on hand to answer any questions about beach litter, the current problems facing our oceans particularly in relation to plastic and how recycling and looking towards a circular economy are the steps we need to take.”

MCS, who organise the annual Great British Beach Clean held every September, said volunteers at 2017’s event cleaned up 10% more beach rubbish than in 2016 – a staggering 718 litter items for every 100m cleaned. Trash collected on the beach included drinks cups, plastic cutlery, foil wrappers, straws, sandwich packets, lolly sticks, plastic bottles, drinks cans, glass bottles, plastic cups, lids and stirrers.

Among the items people will be able to swap their litter for at The Seaside Scavenge are good quality second hand clothes, books, belts and accessories, jewellery, vases, pots and pans and a number of toilet roll holders.

As well as swapping tokens for goods, all beach cleaners are in with a chance to win some fabulous prizes for what they pick up – the biggest haul, most cigarette butts, the oddest item and the largest number of small plastic pieces will all receive prizes donated by local businesses.

The prizes include afternoon tea and a spa treatment at the Headland Hotel, Fistral; a three course lunch at the Watergate Bay Hotel, who have also offered a surf lesson and equipment hire; a meal for four at Rick Stein’s fish and chips, Fistral; re-usable bottles and bags from the Newquay Marine Group, and coffee and cake for two at the Fistral’s Sea Spray café.

Anyone who wants to help out at the beach clean can just turn up on the day.

Marine Conservation Society

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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