Swap trash for pre-loved items in our newest event in Cornwall

Date posted: 20 April 2018

Beach market will use trash not cash to purchase pre-loved items on Watergate Bay, Cornwall.

A Cornish beach will become a trading station where beach cleaners will be able to swap tokens for pre-loved items donated by the public to help bring the concept of the circular economy to life. The beach clean will be serenaded by live musicians.

The idea is to use trash as cash. People collect beach litter and in return receive a token which they can then use to purchase second hand items at the beach market after they’ve finished their clean.

Lauren Eyles,
Beachwatch Manager

Everyone is invited to join us at the Seaside Scavenge at Watergate Bay Beach on Wednesday 30 May 10AM–2PM.

Lauren Eyles, MCS Beachwatch Manager, first saw this sort of event when she visited the MCS’s opposite number down under – the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMS):

“The idea is to use trash as cash. People collect beach litter and in return receive a token which they can then use to purchase second hand items at the beach market after they’ve finished their clean.

The Seaside Scavenge at Coogee Beah near Sydney was incredibly popular and drew people’s attention not just to the issue of beach and marine litter overall but also highlighted the importance of recycling and cutting back on single-use consumption.

I’m confident it can have the same effect here at Watergate Bay. We’re running it during half-term week so we hope it will start conversations within families who will be visiting the coast”

MCS has been collecting good quality second hand goods from staff and the wider public and this will be available for people to ‘buy’ with their tokens at the Watergate Bay Scavenge.

Lauren Eyles says the key thing about a Seaside Scavenge is its informality and the fact that it opens up the concept of beach cleaning to a new audience.

“People can just turn up and clean anywhere along the beach for as long they want, going as far as they want. We’re not asking them to fill in a survey form… we do all that when they give us their rubbish.

Our staff will be on hand to answer any questions about beach litter, the current problems facing our oceans particularly in relation to plastic and how recycling and looking towards a circular economy are the steps we need to take”, said Eyles.

Watergate bay beach clean

As well as swapping tokens for goods, all beach cleaners are in with a chance to win some fabulous prizes depending on what they pick up. Local businesses have donated prizes including a spa experience, afternoon tea for two, fish and chips at a local celebrity restaurant and refreshments at local beach cafes.

If cleaners get the biggest haul, or pick up the most litter by weight or collect the most cigarette butts, they could find themselves enjoying a Headland Hotel experience, food at Rick Stein’s restaurant and other local eateries.

In September 2017, during the MCS Great British Beach Clean, volunteers cleaned up 10% more beach rubbish than in 2016 – a staggering 718 bits of litter for every 100m cleaned. 20% of all litter found, MCS classified as ‘on the go’, 138 items of this type of rubbish was found over every 100m cleaned.

‘On the go’ litter includes drinks cups, plastic cutlery, foil wrappers, straws, sandwich packets, lolly sticks, plastic bottles, drinks cans, glass bottles, plastic cups, lids and stirrers.

The Watergate Bay volunteer beach cleaners will be serenaded by Cornwall-based musician, James Dixon. James is a blues roots and folk guitarist singer songwriter from Bude, who plays a blend of slide guitar, stompbox, tambourine and harmonica.
One reviewer said of James: “You can’t help smiling or foot tapping during his performance and his energy commands the attention of the crowd. There is a genuine love of music and performing that radiates from him.”

There’s no need to register for the Watergate Bay Seaside Scavenge, just turn up on the day and get cleaning. You’ll be doing one of Cornwall’s favourite beaches a big favour and you could come away with some real treasure!

The Seaside Scavenge is at Watergate Bay beach on Wednesday 30th May 10AM – 2PM.

Actions you can take

  1. Join a beach clean
  2. Organise a beach clean
  3. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019
  4. Visit the beachwatch website

Did you know?…

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded almost 50% fewer bags on beaches

MCS launched its Beachwatch programme in 1994

It’s estimated that one rubbish truck load of plastic litter enters the ocean every minute

Why not join a beach clean ... or organise one?

To date, our beach clean volunteers have removed 6 million pieces of litter from our beaches and collected marine litter data to support our campaigns for cleaner seas and beaches.

Learn more and join a beach clean