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Beachwatch Bute: Celebrating their 21st year how they know best

Former Beachwatch Bute Chairman Gordon Stevenson putting in the first bag of rubbish


Beachwatch Bute SCIO are celebrating their 21st year cleaning beaches on Bute by rolling out an innovative programme of new litter picking benches around Bute's beautiful beaches, made possible by funding from the Co-op Community Fund.

Beach Ranger Sandra MacMillan explains:

The idea behind these storage benches, is that people will have access to litter pickers and bags to allow them to beach clean at their leisure. Then they can sit down, relax, and admire all their hard work. 

Filled bags of marine litter can be stored either in the benches or nearby, above the high-water mark on the shoreline. I regularly come along and uplift the filled bags or litter pickers can get in touch through Facebook if they have used the benches.

Our first set of benches were plastic garden storage benches, and whilst doing a good job, we were never truly satisfied at having to introduce further plastic to the environment, albeit in a positive way. Over time the benches deteriorated, and the material became brittle with signs of cracking appearing in recent years. 

As a charity driven by our strong desire to protect and improve our beautiful coastline, we set about investigating various sustainable options to replace the existing benches. We researched wooden ones, either made here on Bute or further afield, however none were truly satisfactory because they required considerable upkeep to prevent them decaying in the damp west coast climate that we all love!

It was a chance remark by David Herriot, our Chairman, that led us to Solway Recycling. The company takes plastic farm waste and turns it into useful products. There was nothing available in their existing range of goods so, we set to work on designing something new that we are all immensely proud of. We hope that others may by inspired by our idea.

What makes the new Litter Storage Benches even more fantastic, is that whilst being robust, comfortable, and quite unique, they offer a maintenance free 'shelf-life' of 40+ years, whilst utilising waste farm plastic (some of which probably originates from the farms here on Bute) thus reducing what goes to landfill or has to be picked up from the beach.

The benches allow people to do a bit of beach cleaning when organised beach cleans are not currently an option. We recommend that litter pickers wear gloves and hand sanitise before and after using equipment.

                                    Beach Ranger Sandra MacMillan, Beachwatch Bute Chairman David Herriot and Coop Representative Lyndsey Speirs

To find out more about Beachwatch Bute SCIO visit

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