Retro Rubbish

One of Surfers Against Sewage’s greatest strengths is an ability to approach the often distressing issues facing our coastline in new, interesting and engaging ways. Our community beach cleans have been growing in scale over recent years and, amongst the tonnes of debris, our volunteers are increasingly uncovering weird, wonderful and historic items of litter. Rubbish that was discarded over 50 years ago is washing up in virtually pristine condition; all too often single-use packaging from yesteryear that shows the durability and persistence of plastics in the marine environment. Items uncovered by SAS volunteers at recent beach cleans include Golden Wonder crisp packets dating back to the 1960s, confectionary packaging from the early 1980s and a Tesco’s yoghurt pot from the early 1970s. Other weird and wonderful items that the SAS team have recently discovered include:

  • Canadian Liberal political candidate sign at Gott Bay, Isle of Tiree (this will have had a long journey via the North Atlantic Gyre)
  • Plastic Chicken found at Perranporth, Cornwall.
  • TV and fridge found at Cruden Bay near Aberdeen.
  • Elephant toy found at Saltburn.
  • 1970’s Tesco yoghurt pot (dated by Tesco archivists) found at Teignmouth, Devon.
  • A set of dentures at Thorpe Bay, Southend.
  • 100s of Sea themed Lego pieces – Found across South West beaches, these are thought to be from a container that was washed off the Tokio Express by a huge wave in 1997.
  • 30 packs of cigarettes at Kimmeridge, Dorset. Just a fraction of the 14 tonnes lost from a container ship in the Bay of Biscay this February.

The tide of historic marine litter items found at SAS’s ‘archaelogical’ beach cleans has been making headline news including in national newspapers including the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Times, the Daily Star and regional newspapers nationwide.

Take action to help protect your local beach by joining SAS on the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project or check out all the Marine Litter campaigns we run throughout the year.