Companies step in to recycle hundreds of bodyboards left on region’s beaches
- Credit: Matt Smart
Bodyboards that have been left abandoned at one of North Devon’s prestigious beaches are being put to good use thanks to the innovation of local companies.
The summer holiday saw 300 plastic bodyboards collected from Croyde Bay, and another 180 collected from Watergate Bay in Cornwall.
Rather than have the boards go to landfill or an incinerator, Quince Honey Farm in South Molton and SWM Recycling will be recycling them.
The polystyrene from the recovered broken bodyboards is now bring used to form a protective insulating housing around the bee hives at Quince Honey Farm.
The housing will protect the bees during the perils of winter, when thousands perish trying to keep the hive warm.
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Another 200 recovered bodyboards will head to Roundswell-based SWM, which will recycle the polystyrene into insulation blocks which will be used by industry in a number of sustainable ways.
Quince Honey Farm's Ian Wallace said: "We are thrilled to be able to provide a solution for this waste.
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"We require polystyrene for building and insulating our hives so we're really happy to take the boards from the beaches and make good use of them.
"Tourism plays a huge part in our business so we want to keep our beaches pristine to attract even more visitors."
Croyde Bay beach ranger Holly Robertson said as many as 30 bodyboards were collected on one day over the August bank holiday.
She said while people were more conscious about not leaving plastic waste at the beach in general, that has not yet transferred to the polystyrene bodyboards.
"With bodyboards it has been pretty consistent, with about 300 collected each year," she said
"You can see a difference in terms of plastic rubbish, but for some reason bodyboards aren't changing. It's staying the same.
"It's great that these businesses are stepping in to do something with them, otherwise they would go to landfill.
"It's great to see there's something that can be done with them, but ideally we want a lot less of them for people to do things with."
The 480 boards, collected from the two beaches by Keep Britain Tidy's BeachCare programme were found littered on beaches, dumped in sand dunes or left abandoned beside rubbish bins.
The polystyrene boards have a big carbon footprint, having been manufactured in China and transported 18,000 kilometres across the globe.
The quality of the bodyboards means that in many cases they can snap after a few uses and end up in landfill or incineration. They can also unleash miniature polystyrene balls into the marine environment, posing a threat to wildlife.
Neil Hembrow, from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: "Every summer a deluge of these boards hit our shores. They are created from cheap materials that are only two inches thick and they don't last five minutes in our powerful Atlantic waves.
"We find hundreds of boards on the beaches we clean, but there are thousands more dumped every summer. It's an incredible amount of waste.
"We have found a recycling solution for this summer's haul of boards but we would prefer to not have to do this.
"These boards are shipped across the world to end up as waste on our beaches.
"Avoiding these cheap throwaway goods and hiring or buying a high-quality wooden bodyboard that lasts many years instead is better for the environment and your pocket."