We had our second Green Hive team road trip on the 16th of October – all the way up to Durness to meet with Dr. Julien Moreau and Dr. Joan D’Arcy who are the founders of Plastic @ Bay – a community interest company aiming to tackle marine plastic pollution in north west Scotland and beyond – they turn marine pollution into unique, bespoke products at their Plastic Lab in Durness. Green Hive are launching a plastic recycling enterprise and reached out to Plastic @ Bay for advice and education on how to sustainably manage a workshop focused on recycling plastic household waste. Andy, Kirsty, Caroline and our volunteer Katrina set off on Wednesday and despite Caroline’s navigation skills we had a very scenic journey, with plenty of snacks!
Breathtaking views on the road to Durness. Photo credit – Katrina Woods
After a brief wander along the Sango Sands beach, we headed along to the Balnakiel Craft Village – a collection of diverse artists and craftspeople who have re-purposed an old military site into a creative hub on the north coast. If you ever do the North Coast 500 I highly recommend stopping by and checking out the artists as well as Cocoa Mountain (definitely the best hot chocolate in the Highlands)
The beach at Sango Sands Photo credit – Katrina Woods
We made our way over to meet with Julien and Joan at their Plastic Lab and after a brief introduction we headed down to Balnakiel Beach, where the Plastic @ Bay team collects the majority of plastic used in the lab.
Plastic @ Bay employ a ranger to collect waste from the beaches in proximity to Durness, but they also have volunteer beach clean days, as well as encouraging the local community to collect litter whenever they are on the beach. When Julien was describing the volume of waste collected from the beach, I couldn’t help but imagine a beach in crisis, like one of the polluted beaches in the Maldives or the Philippines. When we arrived at the beach however, it looked deceptively pristine; white sand, turquoise water and festoons of kelp along a freshwater burn.