Throw-away plastic is likely to be one of the greatest threats our planet has ever encountered. It is a problem which we have all unintentionally been a part of, with marine debris littered across the globe reaching a critical point. Since conservation group Fathoms Free began in 2014, they have seen how the 300 million tonnes of plastic being produced each year can affect the oceans – but ultimately, the way we view ocean plastics needs to change.
With this idea in mind, their latest campaign, Paddle for Plastics, aims to encourage a more practical solution to our plastic problem by inviting the public to go out onto their kayaks to clean up marine waste. It is based around an ambitious initiative which involves recycling plastic found in clean-ups and turning them into kayaks. The plan is to feed back into a circular economy model and utilise wasted plastic. These kayaks will be the first of its kind, and they will also offer a means in which difficult areas can be accessed and waste can be disposed of.
For over two years, Founder of Fathoms Free, Robert Thompson has been in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy to develop this circular economy business model. The first stage of the initiative is building the infrastructure: ocean plastic collection, recycling, storage facilities, research and their business model. Keep Britain Tidy have helped Fathoms Free to build this infrastructure and with their support, 7 tonnes of beach waste has been recycled over the past year. The plastic that gets collected is sorted and recycled into the raw material for products; Fathoms Free have now successfully produced a body board and are in the final stages of creating a prototype sit-on-top kayak.
The Fathoms Free business model is based on the principle of diverting profits back into funding conservation activities within both Fathoms Free and the community. They have had discussions with various partners, such as National Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust who would like to support the campaign and use the kayaks in their activities.
The project was recently awarded second place at the Cornwall Sustainability Awards ceremony in the category of Tomorrow’s Contribution Towards Sustainability, judged by a panel of leading experts in their fields at Cornwall and Isle of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.
As the threat of plastic becomes increasingly desperate, Fathoms Free have launched the Paddle for Plastics campaign because they need help from everybody to clean our seas.
To find out more about the Fathoms Free Paddle for Plastics campaign, click here.