The Brighton Beach Clean

Oh,we do like to be beside the seaside! With the bustling summer holidays winding down, we thought we’d take a quick look back at one of our favourite days out, and tell you a little more about how you can get involved with the Marine Conservation Society this September.


Did you know that that every member of Abel & Cole staff gets to take a day out of the office to volunteer each year for an organisation of their choice? In June, 16 intrepid Veg Heads did just that, braving Brighton Pier beach for a day of litter picking, cataloguing and general do-goodery. The day may have started out wet and muggy, but Brighton’d up a treat within the first hour. Someone even spied a seal lounging under the amusements.

Armed with our reusable water bottles against the summer sun and lead by the knowledgeable Kate Whitton of MCS, we set out on 100m of beach to survey the quantities and types of waste found hiding amongst the pebbles. This proved a much harder task than initially anticipated, with the majority of rubbish having been battered into small pieces by the waves really highlighting the reality of those microplastics we’ve all heard so much about. The purpose of this survey, Kate told us, was to help identify the trends in waste to shape the campaigns MCS run for eradicating specific types of trash. We slapped on the sun cream and within the first hour hauled just shy of 2kg of rubbish from the shore. Comprised of over 60 cigarette ends, lightweight bottle tops and polystyrene cups, you can imagine how many we found! Kate then grilled our nautical knowledge with a beach quiz, and quick lunch was enjoyed before getting back to more clearing – where a staggering total of 9.8kg for rubbish was brought back to base. Think the wet wipes and carrier bag focus of recent years.

We then took park in a litter timeline, revealing exactly how long it takes each type of litter to degrade (75 whole years, if you’re a plastic-coated aluminium can…). We also took it upon ourselves to root through two spent illegal bonfire piles and came away with huge handfuls of dangerous pallet nails which would have otherwise remained among the lounging public and coastal wildlife.

All in all, a successful day for our small band of volunteers – but a harrowing reminder that we all have a responsibility to dispose of our rubbish properly and reduce, reuse and recycle.

Feeling inspired to make a difference? Combine a trip to your local seafront with planting some good deed seeds. On the 20th-23rd of September 2019 MCS are hosting their annual Great British Beach Clean, and they need you! To find out more details on beach cleans in your area, or to host your very own survey, click here.


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