Nationwide Event to Clear the UK's Beaches of Litter

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Volunteers at the 2015 Porthtowan beach clean event (Photo: Marine Conservation Society)

The Marine Conservation Society has joined forces with supermarket chain Waitrose and players of the People's Postcode Lottery to organise a nationwide beach cleaning event from 15 to 18 September.

Thousands of volunteers are expected to turn up to hundreds of events organised by conservation groups, wildlife trusts and individual members of the public who will issue volunteers with litter pickers, bags and gloves (but you may wish to bring your own in case of high demand), and teams will scour the coastline together to round up as much rubbish as possible.

The 2016 event saw more than 6,000 volunteers participate at 364 beaches with a total of 268,384 individual pieces of litter of varying size collected. As well as clearing up the beaches, the MCS team survey the litter that is collected and collate data as to what sort of product is being found in which locations. With this information they can communicate with manufacturers, local councils and other organisations in order to try and stem the flow of pollution at its source.

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Statistics from the 2016 Beach Clean. Click on the picture for the full .pdf format report (Picture used with permission from MCSUK)

This year, for the first time, much of the litter collected will be sorted and recycled. Rigid plastics and cigarette stubs, for example, will be recycled into shampoo bottles and advertising boards through a partnership with TerraCycle, a company that specialises in collecting waste and recycling it as useable material.

For more information on the Great British Beach Clean and for a full list of events, take a look at the dedicated website. There's a clean-up map and a searchable database to find the Beach Clean event nearest to you. You'll need to register as a volunteer in order to take part, but other than that it's all about getting stuck in and having fun.

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Where the waste material comes from. MCS can use the data to target the source of the problem (Graphic: MCSUK)


If you're organising a cleanup and want to send us some pictures from the day (especially if you're diving) then please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know. Check with any people in the picture that they're okay for it to go onto our website, and we'll put them into a round up of the event if we get enough.






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