Beach clean at the Seven Sisters has helped nature and planet in new recycling initiative

Plastics and other litter washed up on the beach at Seven Sisters Country Park are being recycled into useful products as part of an innovative new partnership.
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Since taking over the management of the country park in 2021, National Park staff and volunteers have scoured the shoreline once a week for plastics and litter that often comes in with the tide.

Now the litter pickers have teamed up with ReAP, a charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of plastic waste on the planet’s aquatic life and ecosystems, as well as the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme (ANLRS) which recycles lost or littered material.

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This year alone the teams have collected over 30 bags of rubbish, including 34kg of plastics, 24kg of general litter, 32kg of netting and rope, and 21kg of rubber. The total weight was 122kg and, thanks to ReAP & the ANLRS, around three quarters can be recycled.

Sylvia King, Seven Sisters Country Park. Image: Alex BamfordSylvia King, Seven Sisters Country Park. Image: Alex Bamford
Sylvia King, Seven Sisters Country Park. Image: Alex Bamford

ReAP takes the litter to its Sussex-based hub and, working with UK recycling partner MyRefactory, it’s recycled into products that can be used elsewhere, including to make recycling bins, seating, display boards and outdoor tables. It means that waste collected is kept out of landfill.

Sylvia King, Operations Assistant at Seven Sisters Country Park, said: “It’s sad that we have to collect plastics in the first place and that’s why as a National Park we ask people to bin litter or take it home, as well as recycle where they can.

“Unfortunately, our seas and rivers are full of plastics and other litter and the impact on wildlife, such as wading birds and marine life, is very serious. We want to improve the habitat for nature at Seven Sisters and so regular litter picks are an important way of helping our local wildlife.

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“We’re pleased to have this new arrangement with ReAP that means we’re reducing impact on the planet and helping our precious habitats. Before the local council would have collected the rubbish bags, but our partnership with the charity means that plastics and other rubbish are being recycled and put to good use.”

As part of the refurbishments at Seven Sisters, the National Park Authority has installed new litter and recycling bins in the car parks and building complex at the country park. The new “grab and go” food outlet and visitor shop also includes a range of plastic-free choices.

It has been accompanied by strong messaging and education around “leaving no trace” on the country park, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and also part of a Marine Conservation Zone.

Steve Tapp, from ReAP, said: “Our mission is to encourage the collection of plastic waste from rivers, canals, lakes, and oceans, ensuring it is properly recycled and kept out of landfill. By doing so, we can help to reduce the harm caused by plastic pollution to our precious wildlife and ecosystems.

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“Working closely with our UK recycler, MyRefactory, our purpose is to actively reduce the amount of plastic waste in these delicate ecosystems and promote sustainable practices for a cleaner and healthier world.”

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