If you've seen our (very limited) social media activity over the last couple of years, you'll have spotted we've been getting more involved in local environmental activities. The litter on Scarborough's beaches seem to get worse every year, despite having dozens of local litter picking groups, plenty of bins and signage asking people not to drop rubbish. Some of it isn't even rubbish - lots of perfectly good beach toys, towels and clothing gets left behind too.
A lot of that plastic waste washes into the sea, the majority never comes back on shore, and breaks down into micro-plastics over the years (many, many years!).
As a coastal business we've always felt the responsibility to do our bit - our beaches are the gateway to the ocean, and the last opportunity to prevent plastic pollution damaging the marine environment.
Our little shop is perfectly located on the main street down to the beach from town, and we see thousands of visitors walking down to the front every season. This is our chance to catch them, and "plant a seed" to help them consider the devastation plastic pollution causes, before they set up on the beach for the day.
We've been running a beach toy "library" for the last few years, where visitors can borrow buckets and spades for the day, or for as long as they'll use them. Broken toys have been sent off to various Precious Plastic recycling initiatives around the country to be made into new products.
We've found a way to recycle broken buckets and spades!
After a couple of years' experimenting (and several lockdowns with a bit of extra time on our hands), we've figured out some types of plastic can be easily recycled into new products on a small scale.
Plus - there are hundreds of small businesses, crafters and artists who do similar things around the country with different types of plastic waste. So we've been sending all kinds of beach litter to them.
Closing the loop!
We believe plastic litter can be repurposed, up-cycled and recycled into something amazing - giving it a whole new life, keeping it away from landfill and most importantly - the ocean! After all, plastic is a resource that has already used a lot of energy to manufacture and deliver to its destination - it would be a shame if this was a waste, or worse, polluted the planet!
Along with all these clever folk creating unique products from what was once rubbish, we think we can help close the plastic loop in coastal tourist locations.
We'll be launching a "recycling hub" over summer, where we'll collect, clean and sort beach litter, sending what we can to local crafters and businesses. There will also be a selection of these recycled products to purchase from the shop.
We'll be holding beach cleans and regular events in the shop to help visitors understand why we need to carry out these activities, and how they can help keep our beaches clean.
Keep an eye on our social media pages (we'll keep our existing Fresh Naturals pages, but will rename them when we launch the new brand), so if you're already following us, you should see our updates.
Want to help?
We need your support! Please share our social media posts into as many local, eco-friendly, recycling, up-cycling or crafting groups as you can. This will help us connect with like-minded organisations and people who can get involved.
If you know anyone who may be interested in helping out, or would have a use for the litter we collect, please put us in touch or ask them to contact us.
We'll now have a bit more time to resume Molly's litter picking training, and invite a few of her other beach cleaning buds along (both humans, and doggies - we've met quite a few beach cleaning pups in Scarborough). So if you're a Molly fan, keep an eye out for her on the beach - or come to one of our doggy beach cleaning events in future.
Let us know what you think...
Leave a comment below, we'd love to know what you think, or if you have any suggestions. We'd really like to make this project a success over the summer season, and would appreciate any feedback, or ideas to help us.