The Big Spring Beach Clean 2017

Join the Community Movement for Plastic Free Coastlines

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) & Ecover call for community beach clean volunteers nationwide to join them in the quest for plastic free coastlines.

This April, 3rd – 9th, Surfers Against Sewage will organize their biggest ever Big Spring Beach Clean involving over 10,000 volunteers to clean up our beaches and recycle single-use or ‘throwaway’ plastics that are sadly littering the nations coastline and rivers. In partnership with leading sustainable brand Ecover, Surfers Against Sewage aims to collect over 50,000* plastic bottles from our beaches to create new bottles for the pioneering Ecover Ocean Plastic Bottle Project.

Join the Big Spring Beach Clean 2017! There are over 400 Big Spring Beach Cleans registered across the UK, find your local event on SAS’s Event Page here/ or get in touch with the SAS Beach Clean Team at [email protected] and 01872 553 001.

Recent surveys have shown that there are almost 160 plastic bottles(1) for every mile of UK shoreline and that plastic pollution is affecting almost every part of our oceans, so the time has come to act together to erase our collective ‘plastic footprint’ from our beloved beaches. Surfers Against Sewage is excited to be working with Ecover on new systems and products to reuse and recycle plastic found at beach cleans, and to encourage communities to reuse and refill plastic containers wherever possible.

SAS’s Head of Community & Engagement, Dom Ferris says; “By collecting plastic that would pollute our oceans and converting it into functional packaging, Surfers Against Sewage and Ecover will raise awareness about using plastic conscientiously and more sustainably. Our volunteers are committed to tackling plastic pollution on their beaches for as long as it takes but each and every one of them longs for a day when beach cleans are just a fond memory and we truly have Plastic Free Coastlines!”

The vision of Plastic Free Coastlines is within reach if we take action and the small steps together. Grabbing a pair of beach clean gloves and heading down to your nearest Big Spring Beach Clean can be your first step, and SAS is inviting all beach lovers to join local coastal communities on the journey, adding your efforts to SAS’s 25,000 strong army of volunteers who have removed a colossal 200 tonnes of plastic pollution since 2010 alone.

Tom Domen, Head of Innovation at Ecover, says; “We’re delighted to be partnering with Surfers Against Sewage in their campaign to clean up the UK’s beaches. We share the same hairy ambition – to get people to totally rethink how they use plastic. Now in its 4th year, our Ocean Plastic bottle is designed to raise awareness of the impact of plastic on marine life. But we need to go further and change how we use, re-use and recycle plastic if we’re serious about creating a circular economy and a systematic clean-up of the sea”.

There’s no need to register, just arrive at the time and date advertised wearing suitable clothing, say hello to the Lead Volunteer and you’ll be made to feel like part of the SAS family!

Tackling plastic pollution is serious business but that doesn’t mean beach cleans can’t be fun! They are wonderful community events, with many lifelong friendships formed over the rim of a bin bag. Find your local event on SAS’s Event Page here/ or contact SAS at [email protected].


Big Spring Beach Clean 2017

Big Spring Beach Clean 2017 – Lead Your Community

Are You In?

Today we are launching the Big Spring Beach Clean 2017! This year’s event will take place over the week of the 3rd – 9th April and we are calling for 300 individuals, educational institutions, community groups and local businesses to get involved by organising their own beach cleans.

Marine plastic pollution is our priority issue and we are delighted to be joining forces with Ecover who have pioneered the use of reclaimed marine plastic in their limited edition Ocean Plastic Bottle since 2014. The Big Spring Beach Clean will see 10,000 volunteers help remove 50,000* plastic bottles from UK beaches, recycling many into reusable, refillable Ecover Ocean Plastic Bottles in 2018. By collecting plastic that would pollute out oceans and converting it into functional packaging, Ecover’s Ocean Plastic Bottle raises awareness about using plastic conscientiously.

The role of our Lead Volunteers has never been more important. AS we strive to maximise the positive impacts of the Big Spring Beach Clean we need the support of people like you who are willing to go that extra mile to protect your favourite beaches.

Register Your Beach Clean Today.

Over 100 of last year’s Lead Volunteers have already registered their Autumn Beach Cleans, so you’ll be joining a highly experienced volunteer army!


* We aim to remove and recycle 50,000 suitable plastic bottles from UK beaches across our 2017 beach clean projects. Up to 20,000 of which will be included in Ecover’s Ocean Plastic Bottle Project.


For us, the inspiration to engage the wider commercial community into helping us plant trees came from being part of a surfing and environmental community. When floating the idea with some of the brands that support us, their positive reaction made us aware there was really a place for this to grow into a forest. The idea that we can create forests through commerce is wonderful. For some of the projects we have worked on, the companies have committed to paying for one tree to be planted for each product they sell, it’s a big commitment when often the bottom line is the #1 priority. We believe this is real positive change and the more of us that stand behind these movements, the greater influence we have to create a greener, healthier world.

Hometree is a pretty basic idea, plant more trees.

Hometree is a pretty basic idea, plant more trees. We are on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, it’s wet, windy and cold and it’s where we first started a community garden, in a unused plot of ground about 100m elevation and about 600m from the coast. When we planted the first apple trees we were told we were mad, that trees found it difficult to grow here, but they didn’t, they grew tall and strong and produce delicious fruits. This was our reconnection to trees, we saw the birds come back and the soil in the garden improve, biodiversity, more life on the hill and the seeds of change blew in all directions. One direction was here to hometree, a group of people inspired by the flat, treeless county of Clare in West Ireland and the thought that we could do our part in reforesting this beautiful mythical part of Mother Earth.   

Website –
Vimeo –

We believe this is real positive change.

The more of us that stand behind these movements, the greater influence we have to create a greener, healthier world.

Photos: Mickey Smith, Mats Kahlstrom and Ian Mitchinson.

Turning Beach Plastic Into Boardshorts

We’re all sick of ocean litter and plastic pollution. We shouldn’t need beach cleans. Sadly they are essential (big up to everyone that got involved with the SAS Big Spring Beach Cleans this weekend and everyone that does a #2minutebeachclean whenever they hit the coast) and the problem isn’t showing any signs of abating. We can all do our bit. Get a refillable water bottle. Cut out the single use where possible. Think about what you consume and let the supermarkets know that over-packaging isn’t cool. Whilst we still have the problem there are solutions coming forward, recycling beach plastic is one of them, so good work O’Neill on getting stuck in.

O’Neill was born from the Pacific Ocean in 1952, the brainchild of Californian surfer Jack O’Neill. Since its creation, it has been at the forefront of action sports innovation for generations of ocean users. But now the very oceans and waves that created O’Neill are under threat from a tsunami of plastic waste. This tragedy is the inspiration for O’Neill Blue; an initiative to produce sustainable surfwear using high performance eco-threads by Bionic, which contain recycled beach plastic.



The Planet Is Single Use…


So it’s 2016.
Pretty sure we were supposed to have hoverboards, meals in a pill and endless leisure time by this point. That and a town on Mars. Future looking folk rarely got it right and they’d be shocked if they saw us now.
An interconnected world where you can see a friend’s face on the other side of the world and video chat as easy as you like.
A world where surf comps featuring superhumans paddling into the biggest waves in history can be beamed live into your lounge from far flung tropical reefs. Contests filmed from multiple angles, including by air robots, giving perspectives the poor suckers watching it live with their boring old one pair of eyes can’t see.
The things we can do are amazing. Swells are predicted to the hour and centimetre. Magic boards from any era can be reproduced now the shapers work in the wired world of computer design. Wetsuit tech is so advanced that surfing in the Arctic isn’t just possible it’s encouraged. There’s no end to our inventiveness. Hell we can find food, a taxi, somewhere to stay or a date just with a few prods of the computer in our pocket.
Clever as we are we’re still making a mess of things. The ocean is suffering. Pollution is rife. We are losing the battle against plastic and there’s woeful inaction when it comes to sewage and storm run off.
If that’s not bad enough the global temperature also hit the +1˚C over normal temperatures for the 2015: “2015 was a record-breaking year for our climate. Global mean temperatures reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels for the first time and the year’s average global temperature was the highest ever recorded.”
Climate changes. That’s what it does. It doesn’t matter on the cause.
There’s no excuse for us to treat the planet like it’s disposable.
It’s single use.
We have to look after it in any and every way possible. It’s our responsibility and duty.
Surfing is selfish. The products we use aren’t exactly green. But strides are being made in wetsuit and board tech to escape the oil teat. Because here’s the thing, as tech as we are, as clever and wonderful as we get in our new online narcissism surfing isn’t about any of that. It’s about you and the ocean. Gliding and sliding on pulses of wave energy needs just you and a board. By becoming a surfer you’re now a guardian. The ocean and the beaches are yours to protect and if you’ve not twigged yet, the planet, for you and for the future generations. We never want to get to a point where the ocean is too polluted to play in.
We’ve become so clever and so self-obsessed we forgot to look after the planet. It’s time that changed.

You can do so by getting involved with any of the following worthy endeavours:

The Plastic Project • #2MinuteBeachClean • Surfers Against Sewage

Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall to take part in an Ocean Plastics Awareness Day on Fistral Beach

Marine LItter Penhale, Cornwall (c) Greg Martin
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be taking part in an Ocean Plastics Awareness Day on Fistral Beach, Newquay on the 22nd July. Their Royal Highnesses (Charlie and Cam) will see first-hand how community action in the county of Cornwall is bringing together many thousands of people to help combat the menace of marine plastic litter.

The Ocean Plastics Awareness Day gives NGOs, local and national government and industry an opportunity to commit to exploring and delivering schemes to prevent the flow of plastics onto local beaches and reuse plastic waste removed by local cleaning activities. The schemes and some further simple actions could help dramatically reduce the amount of litter across Cornwall’s beaches, countryside, towns and villages.

The event will also see the launch of a Statement of Intent signed by participating NGOs, local government, academia and businesses to explore, develop and deliver innovative projects that sees waste as a valuable resource rather than a burden.

The royal couple will be hosted by Surfers Against Sewage, the Marine Conservation Society and Clean Cornwall, who, collectively, have enlisted the support of well over 30,000 people to clean up beaches around the UK in the past year. Organisations, communities and businesses involved in beach clean ups, plastic waste research and developing solutions to reduce litter at source will share their experiences and ideas with Their Royal Highnesses at the beach.

HRH The Prince of Wales (former President of the British Surfing Association and surfer himself) has long taken an interest in the health of the marine environment and the need to address waste. The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit has focussed on the marine plastic waste economy at a global level. The activities taking place in Cornwall showcase what can be done to address waste locally.

Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage Chief Executive says “Surfers Against Sewage campaigns tirelessly to protect beaches around the UK from the growing threat of plastic marine litter. Annually, Surfers Against Sewage not only works with over 15,000 grassroots volunteers to remove plastic waste from the beach, but is also collaborating with pioneering projects to use waste plastics as a key resource in producing new products, from skateboards to carpet tiles. We are delighted to be part of a collective shift to protect Cornwall’s beaches from plastics, which should be seen as a valuable resource rather than unwanted waste that society can simply discard.”