Brighton’s A Drop in the Ocean, collected plastic bottle tops from Brighton Beach for eight months last year.
The resulting 29,000 found have been washed, sorted and organised into a 50 metre long wave rainbow along the fence of the Volks Railway in the town.
150 volunteers helped over the project’s various stages and the staggering amount of plastic bottle caps – from single use plastic drinks bottles – shows the scale of the issue facing each of our beaches in the UK.
In eight months, 29,684 bottlecaps were collected on Brighton and Hove seafronts.
Stacked on top of each other, they would reach 100 metres higher than The Shard in London or 2.5 times the height of the British Airways i360 in Brighton. And that’s only the ones that were spotted and rescued.
The final data for the project also showed that, of the 29,684 bottle tops collected between 1 March and 20 October 2018:
- 25% came from milk bottles.
- Of the bottle tops that were clearly branded, 27% came from products made by The Coca-Cola Company. A total of 2,445.
- Nestlé was the biggest identifiable water brand (Buxton & Pure Life; 1,129 tops) representing just over 13% of all branded tops.
Kemp Town resident, permaculture designer and project initiator, Irene Soler, chose bottle tops for the project because they were something she was finding almost every time she walked on the shore.
They are also small enough to be swallowed whole by many sea creatures, may be slow to degrade, may float for a long time, and are among the top 5 items found on beaches around the world according to the North Sea Foundation’s 2017 Bottle Cap Report.
“The question I was asked most often when I was hanging strings of bottle tops on the fence was: ‘Have you dyed or painted them to get those colours?’ The question surprised me at first. But then I realised that bottle tops are just another part of our wasteful every day that we don’t even see. They’re ‘invisible’. Stringing them up on a fence made people really see them,” Irene Soler, A Drop in the Ocean‘s founder explains.
5 ways to help in the fight against plastic pollution on our beaches
1. Pack your own refillable drinks bottle and coffee/tea cup.
See our plastic free favourites here.
2. Use the Refill App so that you can find places where you can refill your water bottle for free.
3. Take everything you carry on to the beach back off it when you leave…
…and if the bins are full, take your rubbish home with you.
4. Make your own on the go zero waste kit
5. Join in a local or national beach clean event.
Brighton has Silent Disco Beach Cleans or see below for details of Surfers Against Sewage’s autumn beach cleans.