The Big Visit South Devon Beach Clean

At Visit South Devon, our commitment to sustainability drives us to make meaningful contributions to our local community and environment. With this goal in mind, we took the initiative to arrange a beach clean-up event. Recognizing our limited experience in this endeavour, we reached out to The 2 Minute Foundation, an outstanding charity that champions the idea that even two minutes can bring about significant change. 

Visit South Devon Beach Clean

Our beach clean took place on a warm September day at Blackpool Sands Beach, close to the beautiful maritime town of Dartmouth. From first glance, the beach looked like there was very little litter, but it wasn’t until we started looking for it that we found there was actually quite a lot. Whilst we did find items such as coffee cups, sugar sachets, tin foil, cigarette butts and crisp packets, the main culprits were tiny pieces of rubbish, also known as micro plastics that were likely bought onto the beach from the sea. Interestingly, we also found some more unusual items such as underwear, plastic toy parts, and cable ties – it just goes to show that you can find anything on the beach, whether dropped by someone or washed up via the sea.  

VSD Beach Clean

We were joined by a number of fantastic local businesses who were kind enough to sponsor our event: including Salcombe Brewery, RFS Marketing, Stagecoach, Stoke Lodge Hotel, Cofton Holiday Park, and Sea Kayak Devon. Additionally, a significant number of community members joined us, driven by a shared commitment to making a positive impact.

Visit South Devon Beach Clean

After our beach clean we invited those who sponsored our event to take part in a sustainability workshop hosted by The 2 Minute Foundation at Kendricks Restaurant in Stoke Fleming, part of the Leonards Cove. Here we learned some valuable tips and tricks to lead a greener life. It started with an interesting discussion about how many plastic-based items we used between getting up that day and heading to the beach clean; such as hair brushes, showers and car keys, for example. It was surprising how many items we all use that are made of plastic. Of course, there are some unavoidable things such as cars or phone chargers, but there are certainly other ways to reduce our everyday plastic usage if we can’t stop using these particular items all together.  

Sustainability workshop at Kendricks in Stoke Fleming

Here’s some interesting facts we discovered with The 2 Minute Foundation: 

  • Beach Cleans are one of the only activities that release all four of your happy hormones – serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. 

  • The idea that plastic takes hundreds of years to break down is a myth – plastic doesn’t break down EVER. Yes, it breaks down into smaller pieces called micro and nano-plastics, but it never completely disappears. Instead nano-plastics can be found in our water, food and even the air we breathe in meaning it’s consistently being absorbed into our bodies – scary stuff!  

  • Plastic production and pollution is the number one cause of global warming, followed by agricultural farming and transport.  

  • If we recovered all of the plastic currently in the world, we would never have to create ‘virgin’ plastics again.  

If possible, set aside a moment to contemplate the extent of plastic items in your household. Then, allocate another minute to brainstorm ways to replace these items with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. This aligns perfectly with the core values of the 2 Minute Foundation, where just two minutes can spark transformative change. Simple changes, like switching from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one or preparing your own lunch for work instead of purchasing a supermarket meal deal, can make a substantial impact. 

If you're a business owner, consider strategies to promote eco-consciousness among your employees. Implementing initiatives like a cycle-to-work or car-sharing program, or providing reusable coffee cups and water bottles to your staff, can significantly reduce their reliance on single-use items. The workshops we attended certainly prompted introspection, both personally and within our business operations. 

If you’d like to take part in a beach clean, The 2 Minute Foundation have set up litter picking points at a number of beaches, green spaces and towns in South Devon and beyond. Why not join us in taking that small step to help our planet. And, be sure to tag @VisitSouthDevon in any beach clean photos you share on Facebook, Twitter (X), or Instagram!




Comments are disabled for this post.