About a decade ago I came across a bunch of fishermen Fishing for Litter in the North Sea. The idea was simple; instead of chucking litter entangled in their fishing gear back overboard, they brought it in to shore to be dealt with. The project aims to reduce the amount of litter in the sea (much of which is plastic) by physically removing it, and the campaign has grown with 372 vessels and 24 harbours across Scotland and South West England now taking part.

So far the member vessels have collected around 1100 tons of marine litter which is great news, although much of it inevitably will end up in landfill. Whilst that seems to be the lesser of two evils, another project in the Netherlands is taking the concept of fishing for litter full circle.


Photo credit: Plastic Whale

Plastic Whale runs tours of Amsterdam’s canal system where visitors can enjoy a few hours of fishing. But this is not the type of fishing you might first imagine, as those on board are specifically searching for plastic litter. The company then use the plastic waste collected and recycle it to make new boats and skateboards, and the fishing vessel itself is of course, made of recycled plastic too.

It’s great to see this social enterprise thriving, but sad to think that it’s only because there is a relentless flow of plastic litter into the water.


Photo credit (top of page): Fishing for Litter






Saying “No” to single-use plastic might seem fairly straight forward, but with only 2 days to go before my month (and hopefully a lifetime) of abstaining, it’s really dawning on me just how hard this is going to be.

My aim is to raise awareness of just how wasteful we are and how we are damaging the environment. Just take a look at how much single-use plastic you use every day and how much of it ends up in the bin – it’s shocking and let’s face it, mostly unnecessary.

Last year over 68% of beach litter found during the Great British Beach Clean was plastic. As well as looking awful, plastic litter can harm and kill wildlife and even tiny sea creatures like barnacles are known to ingest microscopic pieces of plastic.


So, in terms of this challenge I’ll be changing the way I shop and also the way I think. I’m already pretty environmentally aware: I use eco-friendly cleaning and skin care products, buy loose unpackaged soap, refill my washing up liquid bottles, re-use freezer bags and recycle as much as I can, but the real challenge will be going that step further.

My biggest bug-bear so far is that I’ll have to cut down on organic food. I tend to buy organic fruit and veg from the supermarket simply because it is cheaper. But, it is all packaged in plastic, so either my purse will have to take the hit by buying local, or I’ll have to buy loose, non-organic veg instead.

I’m hoping that this will be in interesting journey, and hopefully it will make you think a little bit more about your shopping habits and choices too.

We can all make a difference by putting pressure on our councils to improve recycling and by telling shops that all this excessive plastic packaging is both unwanted and unnecessary.

If you’d like to donate to the Marine Conservation Society who work tirelessly to protect our seas and came up with this challenge, then you can do so here.

Thanks for reading!

Photo credit: Marine Conservation Society