Bodyboard recycling boxes installed on Croyde Bay to battle the build-up of cheap plastic waste

bodyboards on beach with ocean project
Tens of thousands of cheap bodyboards are sent to landfill every year.

Hundreds of bodyboards are removed from West Country coasts every year after being left behind by beach-goers - many after just one use.

The Ocean Recovery Project says the root of the problem lies with cheaply made boards, which often become damaged or break after just a few hours in the water.

Each summer, the project selects three beaches in the South West to collect the abandoned polystyrene boards from - picking up 612 in August 2019 alone.

The way the polystyrene boards are manufactured means they often break after one use. Credit: BPM Media

The project is a partnership between Keep Britain Tidy, Exeter City Council and South West Water - aiming to fight the tide of marine plastic pollution.

Each year over 14,000 boards get thrown away, with many more floating off to sea and damaging the marine environment.

The boards are made in China and then transported over 11,000 miles to UK shores, made from just a two-inch sheet of polystyrene wrapped in a thin sheet of nylon.

The boards travel more than 10,000 miles from China to West Country beaches, only to be discarded after one use. Credit: BPM Media

Due to the cheap materials, the boards are not designed with longevity in mind, with some lasting a matter of hours.

It is estimated that if two broken boards were discarded each day of the summer holiday on every Devon and Cornwall beach, over 14,586 boards would head to landfill.

This year the project will work with Parkdean Resorts to install collection boxes for the boards at Croyde Bay in Devon.