30,725g of litter cleaned up - good job!

By Sarah Sheldon, WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre's Guide and Events intern. 

Plastic has recently been a hot topic, even more than usual here at the Scottish Dolphin Centre. Myself and the other interns have recently attempted to reduce our plastic consumption after watching the incredible eye opening film “A Plastic Ocean”. So when I was asked to host a beach clean on behalf of Marine Conservation Society as part of the Great British Beach Clean, I was enthusiastic to clean up as much as possible and spread the plastic free message!

Beach clean volunteers
Two beach clean volunteers working hard to remove dangerous beach litter

Locals and tourists kindly volunteered for the day to clean up our beach. We managed to collect 12 bags of rubbish (as well as a hefty lobster pot), making a grand total of 30,725g of litter from only a 100 meter stretch of our beach; that’s not even a quarter of its length! The top items we collected were crisp packets (17), cans (23) and plastic pieces (55). These smaller pieces of litter can cause the biggest problems of all. Plastic never degrades, and so can only break up into these smaller pieces. Unfortunately this makes them incredibly easy to be eaten by marine and avian animals, far too often resulting in their death.

An estimated 50% of our plastic is used just once with more than 8 million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans every year*. These figures can feel extremely hopeless, but if we all make just a few small changes to our daily habits, these scary figures could drop dramatically. Simple things; like always using a bag for life when shopping, buying a lifelong water bottle so that single use plastic bottles are obsolete, and picking up litter wherever you see it, will all make an incredible difference. From trying to go entirely plastic free myself I know that it is a struggle, but the less we use and the more we clean up, the cleaner our oceans will be and the happier our beloved wildlife.


Spey Bay beach
Spey Bay beach outside the Scottish Dolphin Centre


Learn to cook. Most of our neighbours' plastic waste is from food packaging. By cooking from scratch and supporting local markets/butchers etc, you cut down on the plastic trays and wraps that most areas won't recycle.

Stop worrying about what others think and carry a backpack. I use mine daily, and keep a folding reusable shopping bag in a pocket in case I pick up stuff on the way home. I can carry almost a week's worth without using plastic. And get a folding metal shopping cart for big trips - they last for years, fold flat to store, and are easy to take home (pulling as you walk, on a bus, or in the trunk of a car).

I have done a pretty good job cutting out unnecessary plastic, but one thing that has been hard for us to give up is plastic zipper bags. We even bought some reusable sandwich bags but can't seem to let go of the plastic kind. Very frustrating!

Generally speaking, it’s easier to recycle cardboard than plastic, plus paper products tends to biodegrade more easily without adding a lot of weight to the product the way glass or aluminum can.

These figures can feel extremely hopeless, but if we all make just a few small changes to our daily habits, these scary figures could drop dramatically - https://19216811wiki.com/