Plastic@Bay activities through lockdown and beyond.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our personal and professional lives. Like many small non profit organisations, Plastic@Bay has had to reevaluate how we operate; to cope with the many restrictions put in place for health and safety, and also to survive with significant loss of earnings. To adjust to the ‘new normal’ we have made some changes to how we run our activities.

Beach Cleaning

Balnakeil Beach is still cleaned weekly, but any additional beach cleans are on hold for now. Unfortunately we had to stop the beach ranger service for now. We are continuing to seek funding to support this vital service.

Contents of the Balnakeil Beach Clean Bin Mid August. Tourists tend to think the bin is a for refuse no matter how many signs we put on it.

Our year old Electric-ATV broke down in May 2020. Without the E-ATV the quantity of pollution we can remove has greatly reduced. We have been in dispute with the manufacturer Eco Charger all Summer. We no longer endorse Eco Charger, despite what they may say on social media. They agreed to a partial refund in early August. With the refund and a generous donation from a private donator, we can now buy a two seater UTV which we expect to arrive in early September.


Beach Litter Database – Citizen Science Project

In May 2020 we launched the Beach Litter Database a new citizen science portal where beach cleaners can record the quantities of plastic they remove and visualise it on a map. Volunteers remove hundreds of tonnes of plastic off the coastline every year, the portal will help recognise these efforts. The portal is open source and can be accessed by researchers and government bodies working on the plastic pollution problem. The Beach Litter Database can be used for any beach in the world. Details are now available on our website in French, German, Danish and Latvian.

Beach cleaners are already entering their good work onto the portal.

Map of UK and Ireland showing quantities of plastic cleaned off beaches by volunteers.

Ocean Plastic Recycling

Making construction material from Ocean Plastic

Early this year we ran a crowd funding campaign, Plastic Lab: Giving Ocean Plastic a Second Life, with Aviva Community Fund. On 22nd April 2020 we successfully raised £5,230 with 215 supporters in 49 days. This project is still in the research and development stage. We have made great progress this August with the help of Guillaume Pic-Rivière (below), a student from the engineering school of INSA-Rennes, France. Upon finishing his studies Guillaume hopes to make boats from recycled ocean plastic in Ghana.

Part of the Aviva Community Fund funding was utilized to make Face Shields out of recycled Ocean Plastic for frontline workers, in an effort to help with the fight against the pandemic. All Face Shields were made in accordance with BSI standards but unfortunately we could not afford to get CE certification for this product as the cost was too high. We could not donate them to health workers. Face Shields are still available to buy on our online shop.

Shredded Ocean Plastic For Sale

In August 2020 Bloft Design, Finland ordered 100 kg of shredded Ocean Plastic from us. Bloft Design are competing in the Baltic Sea Challenge, they will use a gigantic 3D printer to turn Ocean Plastic into Stand Up Paddle Boards. We are very excited to see the results!

Shredding Fishing Ropes

The recycling workshop is working over time, and bursting at the seams with equipment. So luckily, we where donated a shed from Coigach Community Development Company. The shed has been taken down and rebuild behind our workshop at Balnakeil Craft Village, by Julien with the help of many volunteers. Thank you for your help.

Jim helping us build the shed

Plastic Lab Shop

Due to health and safety restrictions, and childcare issues we have been unable to open our shop to the public until mid August. We now sell all our products through our online shop; clocks, tiles, jewelry, and hexagonal tiles and coasters made from recycled ocean plastic, and a range of plastic free products, such as bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner bars, soaps, scrubs, sponges and plastic free deodorants.

The shop is now open in a gazebo which we erected in front of the Plastic Lab, Balnakeil Craft Village. Opening hours are Monday 10am to 2:30pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am to 1:30pm.

Looking to the Future

We have been hit hard by the pandemic. Like many small non profit businesses our future is uncertain. Over the coming months we will continue working on making construction material out of ocean plastic, as this project has the most potential, with regards recycling large quantities of ocean plastic, and generating a revenue. Additionally, there are a number of funding opportunities coming up over the coming months which look promising.

If you would like to help, you can donate via our website, click here for more details, you can buy one of our awesome products made from recycled ocean plastic through our online shop, or you can spread word about Plastic@Bay by sharing our website, and our social media pages @plasticatbay via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you for your continuing support.

One Reply to “Plastic@Bay activities through lockdown and beyond.”

  1. Great newsletter as always. Looking forward to seeing what happens in the months ahead.

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