With a significant proportion of plastic pollution reaching the sea through litter dropped on beaches, many beachgoers need reminding to put their rubbish in the bin – and what better way than for the bin itself to spur them into action? Sarah Robinson reports on recent developments in a clever back-to-basics environmental campaign
The BinForGreenSeas project reached an important milestone last month, with the launch of the first model for public use in Blackpool, NW England.
As reported in the March 2018 Telegraph, the BinForGreenSeas is the brainchild of Nautilus member Fazilette Khan, a former cruiseship environmental officer who went on to found her own charity, the GreenSeas Trust.
Having led projects to encourage beachgoers to pick up their litter on Tobago and in Cannes, Ms Khan’s main focus is now the BinForGreenSeas, which is both a receptacle for rubbish and a symbol of the movement to clean up the world’s oceans.
The idea is that there will eventually be at least one BinForGreenSeas in every British seaside resort, and perhaps ferry and cruise terminals too – with an iconic design that reminds the public of the need for everyone to do their bit in the effort to keep waste out of the sea. It’s not meant to replace the bins provided by the local authorities, Ms Khan explains; it’s more of a visual cue to take action, rather like the lifeboat-shaped collection boxes that encourage people to donate to the RNLI.
When the Telegraph last reported on the BinForGreenSeas, the project was in its early stages. No funding had yet been agreed, but a possible ‘ship’s funnel’ design had emerged from a competition for students at the University of East London (UEL). In the end, the GreenSeas Trust decided not to use that design, because the brief for the project had been developed further and the bin needed to illustrate the slogan ‘Throw marine life a lifeline’. The eventual design is therefore based on a life ring, and was created by UEL students Emily Hodgkinson and George Davis.
To manufacture the first life ring-shaped bin, a mould would be needed that could go on to be used for further copies, and suitable materials would have to be sourced to make the product. The GreenSeas Trust set about raising £15,000 in sponsorship for this work, which included a donation from Ms Khan’s former employer Stena Line. There were also significant grants from Tesco in the coastal towns of Bognor Regis and Ramsgate, where local shoppers voted for the BinForGreenSeas as a good cause the supermarket should support.
‘I believe the public really want to do the right thing,’ says Ms Khan, ‘especially after seeing the David Attenborough documentary about plastic waste harming marine life. But in the UK, 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used annually, and each day, 700,000 plastic bottles are littered. We need to raise awareness that every one of us can make a positive difference just by putting our litter in the bin.’
As tackling plastic waste is the main focus of the BinForGreenSeas project, the aperture for putting items in the bin is the diameter of an average 2 litre plastic water bottle, although there are no major problems with accepting other kinds of rubbish. The bin itself is made by Lancashire firm Fibre Moulds UK using a resin that incorporates 450 bottles-worth of recycled PET plastics.
The launch of the BinForGreenSeas was timed to take place on World Environment Day, 5 June 2019, and the eye-catching 1.5m-high bin was unveiled on Blackpool promenade by Councillor Fred Jackson, cabinet member for environment, transport and climate change.
The GreenSeas Trust is delighted at Blackpool Council’s support for the project, and it is hoped that many more local authorities will be quick to order their own special bin after seeing the first model in action. Now that the mould is in place at the factory, future copies of the BinForGreenSeas are likely to be priced at an affordable £2,000-£3,000, and can be customised to display the names of local sponsors.