We are Precious Plastic North Ronaldsay and we want to kickstart the plastic revolution in Orkney. We are raising £9000 to build a plastic recycling centre, transform our beach plastic waste into new products and turn the problem into a solution.
We live in North Ronaldsay, the most northerly inhabited island in Orkney. A passionate group of us have been litter picking every weekend on our small island's beaches for nearly a year. Our group (complete with fearless children and Dave the dog) can spend hours combing the beaches and plucking fishing rope, toothbrushes and trainers from among the boulders and beneath the sand, often braving high winds to collect the winter storm's plastic delivery. Since starting, we have formed a social enterprise - Transition North Ronaldsay - which aims to take our litter picking to the next level. We are passionate about our environment, wildlife and community.
North Ronaldsay has over 13 miles of coastline. With a population of only 60, that’s over 300m per person that lives there!
Most plastics are used for mere minutes but will last in our ecosystems for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. Not only are animals physically consuming and getting entangled in plastics, the plastics can also release harmful compounds such as hormone disruptors and carcinogens. These chemicals, and the physical microplastics themselves, then get passed up the food chain (termed bioaccumulation) so top predators such as whales are accumulating the highest levels of contaminants. Predictably, though distressingly, it's been found that humans are eating plastic too. Microplastics have been found in seafood, salt and water!
Unfortunately Orkney Islands Council doesn’t support the collection of communal plastic recycling skips on any of the 13 outer isles. So from here the bruck (Orcadian term from rubbish) is taken on a ferry back to Mainland Orkney, then on to Shetland to be incinerated. Disheartened at the thought of our carefully collected rubbish being transported and burnt, we set out to find another way.
After much head scratching and researching we stumbled upon Precious Plastics - a global initiative helping local people solve local problems. We believe that if people can get hands on and understand the processes involved they might rethink their opinions on waste and see it as the resource we know it is. Precious plastics has recently been turning disposed face masks into plant pots, carabiners, light boxes and much more. We hope to join their 80,000 strong global community.
We have also been inspired by Plastic@Bay, who have set up a similar plastic recycling centre in North West Scotland.
The plastic is washed, shredded, melted and then moulded into new sustainable designs, which in turn can still be recycled at the end of their life. The products can then be sold among the community, reviving a circular economy that will benefit the people that live here for years to come.
This crowdfunder would allow us to site a container and build a workspace inside to store, sort and shred our island's waste plastic. The dream is to get an injector machine which uses moulds, and would allow us to create more complex plastic products, such as phone cases and plant pots. The sky will be the limit: jewellery, kitchenware, tiles, bird feeders, beams and bricks for building use are some examples of items we expect to be able to make.
We aim to start an outreach and education programme to promote recycling and remanufacturing of plastic waste in the local area, working with the public, businesses, schools and local groups.
We hope that in the future, the project will employ a plastic ranger to work on the site and collect plastic from the beaches, providing employment on the island and an apprentice scheme for young adults.
If we raise £4000 through this crowdfunder the Calor Rural Community Fund could support us with an additional £5000. That would fulfill our goal of £9000! It’s true, the award is highly competitive but the good news is that no matter what - we get to keep the money raised from the crowdfunder for the project. To have the best chance possible of receiving this funding we need your support! For every page share and like we receive ONE POINT and for every donation a huge TEN POINTS.
Drinks coasters made from recycled plastic
Hexagon bowl made from recycled plastic
Door mat made from upcycled fishing rope
An independent family business, supplying general goods to the islanders including groceries and hardware supplies, as well as unique island produce, gifts, souvenirs and eco-friendly products.