The artwork, of a dolphin on top of a large compartment and made from metal, first appeared on Vernon Road opposite Scarborough Library without any fanfare a couple of weeks ago, but little was known about its origins.
The Scarborough News can reveal that the sculpture is actually a recycling bin called Dotty the Dolphin, and it is on hand to help shoppers and visitors to recycle more.
The bin is designed especially for clean plastics and to help reduce litter that makes its way onto Scarborough's North and South Bay beaches. If they are disposed of correctly, it will help reduce the thousands of tonnes of plastic waste which ends up in the world’s seas each year.
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Dotty the Dolphin has been paid for from the Government's Accelerated Towns Fund and an interpretation board will be added to the sculpture in the coming weeks to provide more information to passers-by.
The Government announced that more than 100 towns in England would share £80m in September 2020 to "boost regeneration, helping them to build back better".
According to documents from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Scarborough received £750,000 of the £80m pot to "re-green the town centre; town centre gamification; vinyl wrapping of buildings and Scarborough Wild Eye Project".
Separately, Whitby received £500,000, but it is not clear how much the sculpture cost to procure and install.