They call it ‘bella stagione’ (beautiful season), but summer is not always made only of beauty. In this period where we return to beaches and seas, unfortunately pollution increases significantly. Pollution caused largely by humans.
According to a recent WWF report, 90 tons of plastic waste end up at sea every day with an average increase of 30% in summer.
Legambiente’s recent ‘Beach litter’ investigation speaks of 654 waste items on average per 100 meters of beach, 80% of which is plastics. Of these, almost half are disposable single-use waste, currently at the heart of the European directive that limits its use and production.
That’s why it is more important than ever to take action. An action that should prioritize not only greater awareness and more control in the production of materials, investing in recycled products which are in turn recyclable, but also an increasing attention to our daily habits. Because plastic does not have legs, and it is up to us to prevent it from being scattered and becoming a source of environmental pollution.
Luckily, there are many collection and recycling initiatives that come to life in summer all over the world, with the aim of cleaning the beaches and raising awareness. In this article we have selected a few of them.
It is the ‘R’ way to wish you happy holidays in the name of sustainability and recycling! Let’s all do our part for a better world.
It is an organization that promotes ethical and ecological values through circular economy and sustainable development activities, involving local populations and opening up new job opportunities. Not by chance, the motto of Plastics for Change is indeed ‘Changing lives through recycling’. The organization has many initiatives to collect and recycle large quantities of plastic waste, transforming them into high quality products.
Roberto D’Amico’s initiative aims to promote the collection of waste on the Italian coasts and seas. A project that has a very strong educational and social component. Under the banner of ‘Cleanliness in and out of water’, every year with his events the surfer promotes environmental sustainability and respect for the sea. The last meeting took place in Ladispoli on 20 June: we hope that many will follow suit!
That is the actual name of this great initiative created by a group of young people who, armed with actual wheelbarrows, collect litter left on the beaches. The project targets to make people understand the impact of consumer actions and the importance of recycling to transform plastic materials into new products to reintroduce into society. This is why the Wheelbarrow Movement also aims to open a positive dialogue with the local industries to encourage recovery and recycling and decrease the production and use of virgin material.
The program, conceived by the TerraCycle® association, collaborating with various organizations around the world, was created to keep beaches free of plastic waste. The goal is precisely to collect plastic from the beaches to then send it to recycling, following effective collection protocols. Each piece of plastic waste is then separated by type and cleaned, and finally melted into new plastic which can be remodelled to create new recycled products.
There are many initiatives that offer advantages to consumers in exchange for the delivery of plastic waste. Among the many, we chose one initiative from Sardinia that gives ice cream in exchange for a plastic bottle to be recycled. Many Sardinian beaches took part into it, which have decided through this simple but significant gesture to promote respect for the environment and the territory, which gives us so much and is too often mistreated.
We close our list with a story that moved us.
Pasquale is 93 years old and lives in the province of Teramo. The first thing he did right after the Covid-19 quarantine? Travel tens of kilometres to see his sea again! A beautiful sea, but unfortunately invaded by litter that uncivilized and disrespectful citizens abandoned along the coasts. But Pasquale did not let that bring him down: he returned to his beach and worked for days to clean it from waste, not only plastic but also gloves and face masks. ‘The grandpa of the sea’, as he was nicknamed, must be a great example for everyone.
Finally, let’s also remember Ocean Cleanup, which Are you R has often mentioned, which recently achieved another success by finalizing the recycling process after the important collection of plastic waste. This is the first time that the plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – the plastic island of the Pacific Ocean – gets recycled! The next step will be to test the properties of the material and ensure that the granulate obtained will be transformed into new recycled products. Follow us: we will keep you up to date!
And you, what do you do to preserve the environment you’re spending your holidays in? Tell us about it!