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News Archive > General > Board dress highlights beach waste issue

Board dress highlights beach waste issue

By Warren Wilkins 27th September 2017

Board dress highlights beach waste issue
Emma Adams reveals the dress at Watergate Bay.

A designer dress made out of 100 discarded bodyboards went on show at Watergate Bay on Friday to highlight the impact of beach waste on the marine environment.

Eco fashion designer Dr Linda Thomas crafted the #WaveOfWaste dress, complete with its 72-foot train, using fabric taken from snapped bodyboards found on beaches in the region.
Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy’s BeachCare programme teamed up with the designer of the eco scheme to raise awareness about the problem of cheap polystyrene bodyboards manufactured in China and the amount of waste they create.

The elegant dress, modelled by former Newquay pro- surfer Emma Adams, took two months to make and features  sharks, dolphins, snakes, aliens and cartoon characters amongst the design.

BeachCare collected 560 cheap and poorly constructed bodyboards from three beaches throughout the summer. The boards were stuffed in bins, dumped in sand dunes or left on the beach.

Dr Linda Thomas said: “I was shocked by the image from 2016 showing a huge wall of waste boards and the enormity of this problem.

“As a family we love visiting Cornwall and the sea and know how important clean seas are for both wildlife and all the people that enjoy the coast.

“I wanted to create something eye-catching to highlight the problem. I understand the issue, as I bought one of these “snappers” for my son years ago not realising what they are like. It was so rubbish for catching waves and didn’t last the season.

“I want to help other families to be informed so that their child can have a better, safer time in the sea.

“Even if money is a big issue, these ‘snappers’ are such poor value that they are letting down both families and the environment.”

The #WaveOfWaste dress is now on a tour around the country to raise awareness of the plastic pollution issue following is unveiling at Watergate Bay.

Neil Hembrow, Keep Britain Tidy’s BeachCare Officer, said: “We are only touching the surface here. The impact of more plastic entering our marine environment is devastating for wildlife and we also estimate that more than 14,000 of these boards are heading to landfill each summer season, costing taxpayers money. Although better-quality boards may cost more, they are more likely to last 10 summer holidays rather than just 10 minutes.

“These cheap boards are manufactured in China, shipped more than 11,000 miles, distributed to stores and surfed for 10 minutes before breaking and going to landfill. They are shipped across the planet to end up buried in the South West.”
BeachCare has been working hard to find a solution for recycling the waste. Some of the boards will go to the Children’s Scrapstore in Bristol and some of the leftover polystyrene will be used by Gavin Randall from Traditional Surfing Co in Sennen Cove as insulation for a new workshop.

Some of the polystyrene will end up as waste. No company has been willing to re-process the polystyrene due to salt and sand contamination despite numerous requests from BeachCare. Polystyrene has little value as a recycled material because it is high volume and light.

Transportation costs often exceed the value of the waste.

Anyone who has a solution for recycling the bodyboards in the future can get in touch with the BeachCare programme via Keep Britain Tidy.

The BeachCare programme, which is supported by South West Water and Sharps Brewery, works with volunteers to do beach cleans across Devon and Cornwall. To date, these volunteers have removed more than 136 tonnes of litter from the beach. 

By Warren Wilkins 27th September 2017

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