Did you know 1st-7th July is Beach Clean Week and coincides with Plastic Free July which is a global movement to encourage people to remove single-use plastic and make plastic swaps?
Being a passionate paddleboarder I spend a lot of time at the beach & I’m a huge champion of ‘trying’ to lead a more sustainable life where I can – so this is a cause close to my heart.
To help do my part I’ve joined up with Somerset brand Touch of Tweed a luxury, sustainable lifestyle brand for all outdoor adventures to host a Beach Clean on 4th July on Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis, Dorset with the guidance of the fab team at Litter Free Coast & Sea. And we’d love you to join us or tell us what you’re going to do for Beach Clean week of Plastic Free July.
I caught up with founder Catherine Orpin from Touch of Tweed and Stuart from Litter Free Coast & Sea to chat about Plastic Free July & Beach Cleans to help share some top tips.
Stuart Beckingham – Litter Free Coast and Sea
Stuart, why are beach cleans so important?
Beach cleans are important to help remove the plastic (and other waste) from the sea, as well as preventing any more litter from washing into the sea. It feels so good to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans and leave the beaches and coastlines clean. Plus, they’re a great way to socialise with other like-minded people!
What’s the best way for people to get involved?
Many people start by simply picking up some litter every time they visit the beach for a walk, paddle or swim – you don’t need much to get started! In terms of organised beach cleans, we’re starting to see more community clean-ups running again, so I would recommend searching social media for local conservation groups, plastic-free groups, beach community groups and so on. Bring a pair of strong gloves and some hand sanitiser!
Any top plastic-free tips for when you’re at home or out & about?
Start simple: choose reusable items where you can (drinks bottles, food containers, bags) and support businesses that are reducing unnecessary packaging or offering refills to customers. There are lots of swaps you can make: switch your shower routine to a shampoo bar and soap, choose washable wet wipes, reusable nappies, fill up jars at a zero-waste shop, buy fresh produce lose from a market or local producer, and so on. Not everything will be possible though, I feel it’s important to focus on what you can achieve and encourage others to do the same.
Catherine – Touch of Tweed
Catherine, tell us your top tips for going plastic-free:
Start at a place that feels right for you, so that might be changing your single-use plastic bags and drinks flasks to a sturdy reusable bag and reusable flasks and water bottles. Then there might be other changes you could make, for example instead of buying a takeaway lunch when you are out and about, that might be wrapped in single-use plastic, could you take your own packed lunch in a reusable lunch box and reusable sandwich wax.
Then you could look to make other swaps around the home, for example, cosmetics, bathroom products, food packaging. The changes need to change that you can easily implement and those you want to make, to make sure that you stick to it. It takes 21 days to form a habit. If the changes you make are too difficult and too many then you are unlikely to stick to them, even with the best intentions. Every change that you can make helps and will have a positive impact, especially if we all work at making changes.
How are you making sure Touch of Tweed is using plastic-free materials as best as possible?
We actively use materials that are natural or are a mix of natural fibres. Using materials such as polyester (both virgin and recycled) sheds tiny micro-plastics when they are washed. These tiny plastics are impossible to remove and make their way to the oceans where they end up in fish and subsequently eaten by us. Therefore, it’s best to use natural fibres such as cotton, wool and hemp which degrade a lot quicker and more easily in water and do not have plastic microfibres.
We also use packaging that has already been recycled and made into packaging materials, which can then be recycled again such as tissue paper, or we use packaging that can be reused, such as mailing boxes can be used at home as pretty storage boxes.
Some great tips from Catherine & Stuart, below are a few of my plastic-free swaps I’ve made over the last few years.
- Use a reusable water bottle. My go-to is either by yourself a pretty Chillys Bottle which you fall in love with or the Honest Rider Corkcicle bottle which I take where ever I go.
- Swap cotton wool for reusable make-up remover pads – you won’t look back – it’s a game-changer. Just pop ‘washable cotton pads’ into google & voila.
- Rember during the start of the pandemic ‘toilet roll gate’? Well, I bought my first box of Who Gives A Crap which are 100% recycled toilet paper & donate money to charity. A brand with heart.
- Invest in a shopper bag you like to carry your shopping in. The Touch of Tweed jute bag is so roomy for either hitting the shops or the beach & the colours are easy on the eye.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the top sustainable tips and learning more about how to get involved in a Beach Clean.
If you’d like to join us at the Touch of Tweed and Country Bumpkin Chic Beach Clean on Sunday 4th July – sign up here.
Unable to make the beach clean? Have a look at the Litter Free Coast and Sea website for ideas on how to get started and why not organise your own beach clean with friends and family over the summer. Also, if you’re are popping to the beach remember a #2minutebeachclean is better than nothing.
Tag us in any of your beach cleans this summer and we’ll give them a share on Instagram:
Touch of Tweed: @touchoftweed
Litter Free Dorset: @LitterFreeDorset
Becky Wren: @Becky_Wren
If you’d like to find out more about Touch of Tweed – have a read of my interview with founders Catherine & James here.