News, Culture & Society

How the litter YOU pick up could become a swimsuit

So you’re one of the amazing people who’ve joined in the Daily Mail’s Great British Spring Clean and removed tons of plastic from our parks and rivers. Does it simply go into landfill? Of course not. Instead, depending on where you live, you’ll either be asked to take it to your nearest local authority recycling centre or arrange for them to pick it up so it can be sent to one of many recycling plants around the country. There, it will be sorted, washed and melted into pellets which are sold on to manufacturers who turn it into something new.

Here are a few of the items made from the plastic waste that you collect. To join our campaign, log on to gbspringclean.org. And why not enter our great £10,000 competition? Details below . . .

A PILOT SCHEME THAT’S TAKING OFF 

We all know that plastic is destroying our oceans and our reliance on oil for fuel is unsustainable. So how about making fuel out of that plastic? Well, Quantafuel is doing just that.

It’s pilot plant in Mexico successfully made 800 litres of synthetic diesel out of 1,000 kilos of plastic waste, cutting the emission of greenhouse gases by 66 per cent. Norwegian plants are under construction to sell the product to Europe and eventually the U.S. Meanwhile, a British-based firm called Plastic Energy flew a light aircraft (above) from Sydney to Melbourne that was powered by 10 per cent ‘plastic fuel’, proving that it’s a viable option for aviation.

TRAVELLING BAGS FROM FIRE HOSES 

In 2005, Kresse Wesling was at an environmental meeting with the London Fire Brigade when they told her that all their old hoses, which are made of nylon, went to landfill. It sparked an idea and now her company, Elvis & Kresse make everything from wallets and purses to handbags (left), belts and travel accessories made from the discarded material. It’s meant that for more than a decade, no London firehose has gone into landfill. And the company has since teamed up with the Burberry Foundation to usetheir leather offcuts.

From £41.

COSSIES THAT WERE ONCE FISHING NETS 

Abandoned fishing nets are a scourge of our oceans, but UND Swimwear turns them into something less harmful (right). All of the UND cossies, sold in the UK by Mamoq.com from £80, are handmade. They are seamless, wireless (for comfort) and can be worn inside out.

STELLA SPINS A GOOD YARN  

Fashion designer Stella McCartney has always produced vegetarian collections to save animals. Now she’s helping to save our seas. She’s using Aquafil’s ECONYL yarn made from converted ocean waste for her Falabella Go bag collection which includes a £540 backpack. ECONYL yarn uses abandoned fishing nets and other nylon waste.

SWEET DREAMS, CONSERVATIONISTS  

First Silentnight produced an award-winning range of eco-friendly mattresses made from plastic which have so far prevented more than 100 million bottles entering the sea.

Now they’ve used the same material in a pillow.

The Eco Comfort Pillow (above, £38.41, amazon.co.uk) is made from 100 per cent recycled materials which spring back to their original shape once you’ve woken up.

Made from 17 plastic bottles, each pillow can be safely put in the washing machine for easy cleaning.

HERRINGBONE THROW THAT’S JUST AS SOFT AS WOOLENS 

This beautiful £45 brown and grey throw (right) may look like it’s made from wool, and feels just as soft, but it is produced from some 300 plastic bottles.

And because of the material used, the Tabby Herringbone Throw (available from layeredlounge.com) is stain resistant, machine washable and great for anyone with allergies as moths and mites hate it.

THAT’S COOL! SHADES FROM RECYCLED PLASTIC BOTTLES   

Made by Dick Moby, a company set up by two surfers shocked at the amount of plastic waste in our oceans, these sunglasses (above) originate almost completely from recycled materials.

The frames are of recycled, biodegradable acetate, the micro-fibre cleaning cloth is from plastic bottles and the case is upcycled leather. Several designs are available; this pair cost £167 from Mamoq.com.

SHAMPOO CLEANS UP THE UK COAST

When the Natural World haircare range starting using bottles made from recycled plastic from around the UK coast, they took a chance that customers would not care about the lack of sleek packaging .

It worked. Their oils (left), shampoos and conditioners are now at Tesco from £5.

NIFTY BAGS? I’LL DRINK TO THAT 

Rather than buying big plastic boxes to store your goods in, what about Rex London’s recycled storage bags (left)? The company cottoned on early to the plastic menace and launched the first design made from recycled drinks bottles in 2007. They’ve sold more than three million and expanded the collection to include 75 different and colourful designs. 

RUGS ARE HELPING TO TURN THE TIDE 

When Tasha and Barney Green stumbled across a fishing rope made from bottles, lids and other plastic waste in Asia, they knew they’d hit on a great idea to recycle the rubbish in our oceans.

It took seven years to turn plastic into a material soft enough for rugs (they also produce dog beds, above, blankets and footstools) sold through their award-winning business, Weaver Green.

Up to 3,000 recycled plastic bottles go into each rug, making them easy to clean, stain-resistant and waterproof. From £130.

A BOAT MADE FROM THAMES RIVER RUBBISH 

Like many rivers, the Thames in not immune to litter. In fact, every year 300 tonnes of rubbish are cleared from London’s artery.

So Hubbub, a charity that creates environmental campaigns, teamed up with Mark Edwards, who built the Queen’s Gloriana barge, to create the world’s first punt made of 99 per cent recycled plastic (right) from the river.

There are now two boats, with a third on the way, which ferry people up and down the Thames to pick up rubbish. In 12 months, they collected more than 1,250 plastic bottles from the Docklands area alone, helping towards the 8,000 needed to build a boat.

 … AND OTHER BRILLIANT ECO IDEAS

BOTTLED WATER… SOLD IN A CAN? 

A staggering 7.7 billion single-use bottles of water are sold in the UK each year, significantly contributing to the huge amount of plastic littering oceans and landfills.

Now there’s an alternative — water in a can. Each Life Water can is made from 100 per cent recycled materials, including 70 per cent aluminium and is free from harmful BPA chemicals. (24 cans for £23.99, amazon.co.uk).

ALL THAT GLITTERS… CAN BE GREEN 

MOST glitter is made from etched aluminium bonded to polyethylene terephthalate plastic (PET) creating microplastic which isn’t biodegradable.

Now glitter company Ronald Britton’s eco-friendly version Bioglitter, made from plant-based materials, is used in cosmetics, crafts and fashion.

WHO NEEDS CLING FILM?

We all use Cling Film, forgetting it’s a single-use plastic.

Oxfam’s alternative is a beeswax wrap (£14.99, right). Made from organic cotton, it can last a year and is also home compostable.

AN ALTERNATIVE TO BUBBLE WRAP 

Packing items to arrive safely in the post usually means a bucketful of polyester chips or acres of bubble wrap, both plastics which don’t biodegrade.

But Kite Packaging has alternatives. EcoFlo loose-fill chips are made out of starch and bubble wrap from recycled paper (left) which are environmentally friendly and break down naturally.

Inspired? How you could win £10,000 

A prize, funded by the Daily Mail, will award £10,000 to the individual, small business or charity making the greatest strides to Turn The Tide On Plastic by creating sustainable alternatives or providing creative solutions for reusing or repurposing disposable plastic goods.

We’re looking for inspiring inventions, innovative eco-friendly alternatives or ingenious life-hacks, from weird and wacky to serious and sustainable. We will be publishing a selection of your entries in the paper throughout the campaign and one runner-up with receive £1,000.

THE ‘JUNIOR LITTER CHAMPION’ PRIZE

WE’RE also offering an exciting prize to three children (under 14) who are judged to have made the most significant contribution to litter collecting as an individual over the course of at least a year.

Each winner will get £1,000 cash, plus an eco-friendly family break on the stunning Isle of Wight — see tomsecolodge.com. Both competitions will be judged by a panel of representatives from the Mail, Keep Britain Tidy and a celebrity who is passionate about litter and plastic reduction.

HOW TO ENTER: Email or write to explain in no more than 100 words why you think you or your nominated child should win the desired prize. Please include contact details for yourself and, if relevant, your nominee. Attach as many illustrations or photos as you wish to support your entry. Only one recommendation per entry. Send your entry before Saturday, April 20, by email to springclean@dailymail.co.uk or write to Great British Spring Clean Competitions, Daily Mail Marketing, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry St, London W8 5TT.

  • Terms and conditions apply, see Coffee Break and visit dailymail.co.uk/springcleancomp for full details. By entering, you agree to publicity within Mail publications. Winners will be revealed in the Daily Mail in May.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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