Recently two things got me thinking about how much beach litter I have picked up over the last eight years, as unfortunately it never occurred to me that a few years down the line I may want to know!! 

Over those eight years I have organised quite a few beach cleans, after which we always weigh the litter. As group exercise I feel it gives people something to think about, especially when putting posts out on social media, but I hadn’t thought to weigh and catalogue my own efforts over the years.

Firstly, an unprecedented April storm stirred up the shingle also depositing large amounts of it on the promenade, revealing loads of plastic litter both on the promenade and the beach. A lot of this litter was small brightly coloured plastic most likely seeing the light of day for the first time in a while. 
The transient nature of shingle beaches means that tides and traffic in the form of people & dogs, allow plastic pieces of all sizes, to work their way into the shingle, to be hidden until subsequent tides, traffic and storms reveal them again, sometimes weeks, months even years later.
Whereas I normally only beach clean on my daily dog walk, occasionally doing a longer session when time permits, I couldn't not pick up all this litter that had appeared, so I spent several hours over several days, getting into a routine of collecting, washing and sorting as I went.
When I eventually weighed it all there was 5kg!! of mainly small plastic, bottle tops, toys, cotton bud sticks etc. that’s not counting a few treasures I put straight on my collecting windowsill, various bits netting, rope, fishing line and driftwood, which I also keep separate. 

Secondly a colleague at Teatime & Time film production company who have filmed several of my projects, thought it would be an interesting idea to revisit and re-edit some of them into shorter environmental films with statistics which I've been asked to supply. So, I’m now with the aid of photos, film and a calculator guestimating just how much beach litter I have collected and created into art work over the years and it’s proving to be a real eye opener.
collected litter being sorted 

litter  on beach 

washing litter 
washed litter drying before being boxed

 5kg of collected, sorted & washed plastic beach litter 


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