I can’t believe that there is now only one sleep left until Paddle Pickup Two, the Length of Wales!
Last year I joined adventurers Erin Bastian and Bex Band to paddle the width of Britain to raise awareness for plastic pollution. I had just handed in my notice at work when Bex contacted Incredible Oceans about the expedition, it felt like I was supposed to do it and so I signed up for the full 300km kayak.
I mostly hoped I could raise some much needed funds for Incredible Oceans and potentially find a solution for some of the plastic we collected. And we collected a lot of rubbish! Over 3000 pieces, a third of which were plastic bottles and the second largest culprit was food packaging.
Sadly there was no infrastructure in place to deal with the plastic. Not through any fault of the adventurers, they just hadn’t anticipated the amount of plastic we would find nor the problems we might face in getting rid of it. And so I became the person who was excited about rubbish and the potential of what we could do with it!
I washed and saved a lot of the plastic and then took it to various events with Incredible Oceans. Walking into the prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London with bags of river rubbish was an experience I can’t say I ever thought I would have in life! Incredible Oceans also took it to the World Travel Market and the Telegraph Outdoor Show where its impact reached a huge audience.
This year I am co-ordinating the conservation effort and I have tried to find solutions so that the waste we find does not end up in village bins and landfill!
I have been in touch with the Local Authorities along the way to try to get consent to enter their recycling centres with our van. I have had mixed success!
I am so excited that this year not only will our HDPE hard plastic be made into kayaks by Palm Equipment and Fathom’s Free, but we are also using two of their marine plastic kayaks for the trip! So we paddle marine plastic kayaks, collect plastic and then turn it into more kayaks! I love this circular economy solution for the waste already in our waterways!
If we find any 2l pop bottles these will also be upcycled in to paddle boards by The Whale Company.
Any small un-recyclable every day items (that there is space for!), I will keep for education and to see if I can find solutions after the event. Keep following to see what we find and what solutions I can find.