The 'staggering' number of bodyboards left at Devon and Cornwall beaches

A 'staggering' 1,082 snapped plastic bodyboards have been recovered during a clean-up of just three beaches.

And charity Keep Britain Today says this is just a small percentage of the boards that go to waste every year.

This summer, the charity's Ocean Recovery Project visited Croyde Bay, Fistral beach and Bude to collect discarded bodyboards.Working with community groups and beach owners, the collection filled an entire shipping container with broken boards.

For 30 years, Keep Britain Tidy has worked hard to make our public spaces greener. It has three main goals – to eliminate litter, end waste and improve places. 

Neil Hembrow, from Keep Britain Tidy, said: "This is the legacy of summer 2021. The amount of waste is staggering. A shipping containers' worth of cheap boards was sent 11,000 miles across the globe only to end up as waste for the South West to deal with.

"The negative environmental impact of the common polystyrene bodyboard starts with its big carbon footprint - manufactured in southern China and transported to the UK.

"The poor quality of these bodyboards means that, in many cases, they snap after just a few uses and end up in landfill or incineration. Worse still, when the bodyboards snap, they often unleash thousands of miniature polystyrene 'balls' into the marine environment, posing a direct threat to wildlife."

More than one thousand bodyboards were recovered by the Keep Britain Tidy team. Credit: ITV West Country

To combat this, the charity has launched the #WaveOfWaste £1 hire scheme, working with holiday resorts across Devon and Cornwall to rent sustainable bodyboards without polystyrene to customers. 

The first resort to join the scheme was Wooda Farm Holiday Park near Bude. The charity gave 10 boards to the holiday park at the start of summer and they were all rented out every day.

Owner Charlotte Veale said: "We are really proud to be a part of Keep Britain Tidy's hire board scheme here at Wooda.

"We store them onsite and then people come to our shop or reception. This allows them to have a go at bodyboarding, without having to purchase a board that might be more expensive and avoiding purchasing the polystyrene bodyboards.

"All around, it's a win-win scheme. It's been absolutely fantastic for us."

Due to the success of the scheme, Charlotte Veal has bought another 50 boards to rent out next year. Credit: ITV West Country

Keep Britain Tidy is currently working with five resorts but hopes to quadruple that in 2022.

Neil Hembrow added: "We want more resorts, holiday parks and accommodation providers to contact us for next summer. We have ordered quality boards and it's a simple process to set up the hire scheme. We need to stop this planet-polluting product being shipped to end up as waste on our beaches."

The Ocean Recovery Project is supported by South West Water and you can find out more about the scheme here.