Fishing line recycle bins installed along Eastbourne seafront

On a sunny Spring day, and with lockdown restrictions due to be lifted shortly, celebrations were in order as a socially distanced meeting checked the new installation of Eastbourne’s fishing line recycling scheme.

Photo: from left to right: Oliver Sterno, Plastic Free Eastbourne, Cllr Jon Dow, Eastbourne Borough Council, Neil Peters, Eastbourne Borough Council,Dee Harmer, Fish 2 Water, Lani Farrell, Eastbourne Voluntary Lifeguards Youth Team, Simone Laughton, H.L. Motors.

The recent campaign was initiated by local water specialist, Dee Harmer to help tidy up Eastbourne’s beaches. Underwater photographer, swim teacher and Surf Lifesaving coach, Dee regularly swims in the sea and often finds angling debris, both in the water and on the beach. A pipe bin scheme came to her attention through social media and she contacted the volunteer group, Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme and Eastbourne Borough Council who have both been fully supportive, to put the scheme into action.

Her campaign is supported by our local environmental group ‘Plastic Free Eastbourne’ to install a network of discreetly designed bins along suitable points of the seafront to deposit discarded fishing line and nets. The angling debris will be collected by Dee’s company, Fish 2 Water and Eastbourne Voluntary Lifeguards and sent for recycling.

After sponsoring the first bin through her own company Fish 2 Water, Dee found sponsors from other local companies keen to help the scheme. With a special thanks to Ben Hartland, East Bay Campers Sussex, Simone Laughton from H.L. Motors, and one other, four bins have now been installed at Holywell, the Wish Tower, Splash Point and the Waterworks Treatment Plant. Dee now hopes to find more sponsors to expand the scheme further.

Steve Tapp, campaigner from Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme, who installed the bins, commented ‘We are extremely pleased to be expanding our recycling scheme into Eastbourne. Rather than end up in landfill, the material that is collected will be sent off to our UK recycler, ReWorked. Here, it will be processed and combined with other ‘hard to recycle’plastics to create a plastic board, used to manufacture various products such as recycling stations, rod stands and waste bins. Future projects include developing angling related products such as polarised fishing glasses frames from the recycled fishing nets and line.”

The project’s aim is to raise awareness of marine debris and its effect on wildlife as sea birds and marine life are often trapped or killed as a result of fishing line and ghost netting. Quite a few towns have now adopted this initiative, Eastbourne will join Brighton, Seaford and Newhaven who already have pipe bins installed. The pipe bin project will now also be part of a survey of marine litter on Sussex beaches with Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Oliver Sterno, Plastic Free Eastbourne commented “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome. We have teams of volunteers who adopt a particular section of beach to care for its well-being ~ cleaning it and monitoring the debris collected. Our initiative is based along the whole of Eastbourne beachfront which is about 9 km long and divided into 93 separate beaches. The amount of discarded line that is continuously washed up on our beaches is staggering, it poses a threat to wildlife and looks unsightly. The pipe bins will play an important role in our weekly cleaning process. This is another step towards helping our environment.”