Saving the Camel’s Back
The UK and USA throw away 550 million plastic straws a day. On average, a straw is used for 20 minutes before being thrown away and it is estimated that a straw will take over 200 years to break down.
The EU recently announced plans to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. Together these materials constitute 70% of all marine litter.
The new rules will see different measures applied to different products. Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned. For products without straight-forward alternatives, the focus will be on reducing consumption; improved design and labelling requirements and increased waste management/clean-up obligations for producers. Some of the materials for which a ban is being proposed include plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.
At Helistrat, we recognise that whilst legislation has a vital role to play, we shouldn’t need to be dependent upon it or waste time waiting for it to come into force. Whilst the scale of plastic and marines waste may seem intimidating, we all have the opportunity to start to make a difference today.
Last month, we installed one of two Seabins on the South Coast and invited local businesses to come and see it and learn how they could start to help make a difference. Seabins are essentially a floating rubbish bin, located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports. Each bin can collect up to half a tonne of floating debris per year, including microplastics as small as 2mm. A submersible water pump, capable of displacing 25 litres per hour, sucks water in from the surface. This passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin and is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped inside.
We have been working closely with Premier Marinas on this project, who operate nine South Coast marinas including Port Solent where the first of our Seabins has been located. We have also worked wit local campaign group The Final Straw Solent, whose ambition is to minimise the amount of plastic entering our local seas. We were delighted by the turnout on the day including the appearances from special guests The Lord Mayor or Portsmouth, Lee Mason and four-times America’s Cup Sailor, Freddie Carr.
The Seabin has been steadily gaining exposure, with edie readers voting it as the number 1 innovation of 2017. During a podcast earlier this week they spoke to David Turton, the Chairman and facilitator of the Seabin group. Listen to the interview here:
If you weren’t able to attend the launch take a look at our highlights video below.