Every day we collect aging plastic pollution, cans and glass bottles from Solent shores.
This old glass bottle seems representative of our time of Corona. How long has it been floating around the Solent? Fifty years?
The Litter Pickers of the New Forest found me this 1960s advert for the original bottles with the same cream metal cap.
The Deposit Return Scheme running at the time ensured that most were returned to the manufacturers but I’ve found a couple on the shore. One that held ‘Limeade’ with a 3d deposit return label is selling for £23 on Ebay where it is described as ‘a lovely piece of nostalgia.’
A year later I found this vintage bottle (above) washed up in exactly the same place. How many more will arrive there?
How old would this re-useable Unigate milk bottle be? 1980s? Forty years? They have also become collectors’ items. One like this is valued at £15 on eBay. It was found in these willow trees just above the high tide mark. It might have come over from the Isle of Wight where ‘Milk and More’ ran deliveries.
You can just see a brand new mask in this photo (above) but the bottles and plastic containers were hauled out of bramble bushes a few feet from the sea where they have languished for years.
Here is a photo of the same footpath with more plastic bottles that have blown in, together with old glass bottles the earth seems to be spitting out. The message inside them is clear: this has to stop.
I found a Wellington boot, washed up or discarded, which must have been around for some time. It had a field-mouse living inside so, I left it for now, but there is plenty more like it.
This Walker’s Crips packet, found recently, is 24 years old. I have quite a collection.
Plastic is amazing stuff. My father manufactured products made from PVC. He said that back in the 1970s, his company never considered what would happen when the items they made reached the end of their useful lives.
What date did the squarish plastic milk bottles come in? How many are disposed of daily in the UK alone? How many are recycled? How long does it take for them to decompose? They tend to flake.
How long does it take for a Tescos ‘bag for life’ to deteriorate? I often find them in the Solent. Fishing line undoubtedly lasts a long time. It can be difficult to spot.
I often find individual plastic pegs. Why is this? Do they fall off boats?
Collecting the old rubbish is satisfying. You can see more beach cleaning photos here
The Wombles of Hambleton have made up a list of how to age vintage litter:
* cans with an old style ring pull – the new style was used from 1989
* cans that pre-date the bar code (approx 1970s) are measured in fl oz
* older style names, disused names or products eg: Marathon
* pre-decimal prices – dated before 1971
* glass bottles before the switch to plastic eg: older Lucozade glass bottles
* look for competitions advertised on the packaging, which are dated
* products advertising sporting events eg: Mexico World Cup Coca Cola
What is this flotsam doing to the planet? Could you help clear it up? Would you join The Great British Spring Clean or other schemes run by the charity Keep Britain Tidy?
For a full list of things I found on beach-cleans please click here
5 thoughts on “Diary of a Beachcomber: finding elderly rubbish by the sea”
It is incredible what you find on the beach. As you say, some of it must be decades old. Where does it all come from? Please keep up the good work, Sophie!
It’s easier to hoik cans and bottles out of the brambles in the early quarter of the year. There is much less litter in the winter but the storms cough up more flotsam. I long to go out today but am still feeling weak after accepting the Astra Zeneca vaccine so am at my computer instead! Thanks for writing it. It’s always great to receive comments. They encourage me to keep blogging.
Good morning Sophie. I have just been on my almost daily litter pick of where I live – Wendover Buckinghamshire – on the local roads. Today’s hall wast mostly beer tins (which go into to my household waste), some drug items (general waste), and the the usual bits of plastic sweet wrappers etc. The local council here gives us small general waste bins but I am in the local Army Reserve and they are happy to take general waste when I run out of space at home. Regerards Antony
Well done you. Have you thought of registering with Keep Britain Tidy for the Great British Spring Clean. I kept a detailed diary of my finds the first year. It was fascinating. Plenty of evidence of drink driving and driving on drugs. I keep a record of unusual finds. Here are a few: https://sophieneville.net/2022/01/22/diary-of-a-litter-picker-20-unusual-finds/