We must work together in a positive, supporting and engaging way, promoting upstream solutions to plastic pollution, bridging technology and research together with action and experience.
If you would like to help, please do get in touch
Alternative power engineering combined with offshore sailing is the foundation of what we do. We help raise awareness to combat pollutants entering our oceans, not just carbon emissions from our engines, but also the devastating effect of used once plastic.
If you join us on one of our sailing experiences, we can with a heavy heart pretty much guarantee you will see some sort of plastic floating when out sailing, and via the science of our collaborators, walking the beach, and from trawling the surface we know for sure that the level of microplastics that we sail through is beyond belief, and it is everywhere.
We all need to work together, on land and at sea, because it is going to take all of us to make the change happen, and it needs to happen now.
We all now know how hard it is to go to the shop and find everyday items that are not wrapped in some sort of use once plastic.
So when we go out provisioning before we sail we are searching for items that are stored in genuinely recyclable containers, i.e tin, cardboard, or we make it at home before hand and store in reusable tubs.
We have refrigeration onboard, so we can pick from our own garden, and buy fresh from local suppliers.
It is actually much more difficult than it sounds. Provisioning, and this is day to day, means thinking ahead, not choosing items because of their convenience, but choosing because of their ethos.
It's also not just the food onboard, it's replacement parts packaging, the film a new thermal top is wrapped in, and the fibre that's used to make it, and one of our biggest challenges, the antifouling system we use on our hull.
1. No use once plastic onboard - at all. We mean it.
2. No harmful boat (or us!) cleaning products that could enter the water.
3. Trial alternative antifouling technologies,
4. Any used once plastic that appears, for example in a boat part delivery, gets documented,
5. Any plastic we come across we attempt to recover (on land and sea). When at sea we use a manta trawl to document surface findings, as well as reporting to marine debris tracker and eyesea organisations that are collecting the data, to attempt to get an overall picture of the problem.
4. Working with innovative companies - plastic is very very useful, so recycling it is very very important. Better to reuse, than bury the problem, and everything from flip flops to entire boats can be made from recycled plastic.
5. Share the discoveries!
Follow our journey as we find workable solutions and methods, and as we form new relationships with like minded individuals and organisations. sharing their work and achievements. Click on our collaborators page to learn more about who we work with and the key work they are doing.
Northern Devon and the rest of the world have a plastics problem and we need to act now.
For more than half a century plastic has been an integral part of our lives providing a cheap, versatile and increasingly ubiquitous material incorporated into what feels like every modern day product.
As a packaging material, it is safe, durable, lightweight, and readily moulded into any shape. For food packaging, it seals out oxygen and other contaminants, extends produce shelf-life and reduces transportation costs by keeping packaging weight down. It feels like plastic, particularly single-use plastic, has become a totem for our modern way of life and today packaging represents 26% of the total volume of plastics used.
But the world is waking up to the plastics problem, and it is a serious problem. The very benefits of plastic, its toughness and durability, are a real and growing threat to the natural world:
• We produce millions of tonnes of plastic each year, much of which cannot be recycled. ‘Single–use’ plastics, typically packaging and ‘disposable’ convenience products, such as carrier bags, food and drink containers, straws and takeaway cutlery, are rarely recycled.
• Most plastics are produced from fossil fuels and are often a complex cocktail of chemicals. After use, they are difficult to dispose of in a way that is not harmful to wildlife and the environment.
• Petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable and, unrecycled, can last for hundreds of years - very large quantities leak into the environment both on land and at sea, generating significant environmental and economic damage. Most marine plastics litter is generated from land sources.
• Although plastic will not biodegrade, after many years it will break down into tiny particles, releasing toxic additives used to harden and shape the plastic which make their way into food chains and water supplies.
• Once in the marine environment, sunlight and currents shred plastic debris into microplastics, which absorb and concentrate toxic chemicals up the marine food chain, including the human food chain.
The landmark Blue Planet II television series really brought it home to millions about the catastrophic global plastics problem and its devastating impact on the natural world. This is a problem of our making and it is everybody’s responsibility to take action…
An extract from the Plastic Free Northern Devon Strategy & Action Plan 2018 -2022 - you can download the full paper below.
On average, a plastic bag is used for 12 minutes, yet they persist in our environment for decades. Plastic bags are difficult to recycle and clog up machines, light weight so they're easily transported by the wind and water, and they look like jelly fish in the ocean so they're mistaken for food by turtles.
Packaging now accounts for 25% of all plastic manufacturing. Buying bigger helps reduce the amount of plastic you consume.
All materials shed fibers, which escape filtration through wastewater and can end up in the ocean. Unlike wool and cotton, plastic microfibers from synthetic materials like nylon and spandex don't biodegrade. In cases where synthetics fabrics are unavoidable (think bathing suits) try to wash less frequently and by hand.
Seven out of every ten plastic bottles end up in the bin. Not only does a refillable bottle make good environmental sense, it’s good for your bank balance. Bottled water costs 2,000 times more than (filtered) tap water. Thankfully disposable straws. are now banned in the UK, they end up in oceans, and kill marine animals.
Polystyrene foam, better known as "Styrofoam,” cups each year and many lids are made from the same plastic. If you forget your reusable cup, order your coffee without a lid.
They are so many innovative ways of avoiding plastic now, if you see an issue, look online for solutions and workarounds. We have a huge movement here in the South West to combat the problem. From Bulk buy shops to community schemes. and don't forget to share!
North Devon Marine are proud to support SHiFT. Created by Emily Penn, ocean advocate and eXXpedition Co-Founder, the SHiFT method is designed to help people find their role in solving the world’s most pressing issues.
Emily’s philosophy towards life has been shaped by spending over a decade out at sea, where you are constantly reacting to the changes around you. The wind picks up, the waves change direction, and you have to respond, you have to shift your sails, shift your course.
For Emily, that shift led her from a career in architecture to one dedicated to solving the issue of ocean plastic pollution. The more time Emily spent at sea, the more she realised the solutions start on land.
Through her workshops, curated experiences and sailing expeditions she’s worked with individuals, businesses and governments around the world to develop solutions, from sea to source.
She developed the SHiFT Method which is a journey of discovery to understand the crux of a problem and weigh up where we have the biggest opportunity to make an impact.
NDM and their collaborators work together to not only solve energy problems, but also waste and pollution issues, helping to raise awareness to inspire change.