Keep Our Coast Clean: Scarborough business starts bucket bank to tackle beach litter

From left, Fliss Cater and Meg Watts with the bath bombs they will give those who return a bucket full of rubbish. PIC: Richard Ponter
From left, Fliss Cater and Meg Watts with the bath bombs they will give those who return a bucket full of rubbish. PIC: Richard Ponter

An independent business in Scarborough is piloting a scheme to tackle beach litter.

Fresh Naturals, a natural bath and skincare shop on Eastborough, launched the scheme in which beach goers can borrow bucket and spades to use on South Bay which they then return filled with litter in exchange for a free bath bomb.

From left, Fliss Cater and Meg Watts with the bucket bank and beach litter artwork. PIC: Richard Ponter

From left, Fliss Cater and Meg Watts with the bucket bank and beach litter artwork. PIC: Richard Ponter

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The litter is then collected and cleaned by Fliss Cater, the shop’s owner, who is working with local artists to transform it into artwork which is being sold to raise money for local environmental causes and charities.

Fliss, 34, saw a cafe running a similar scheme in Cornwall on social media and wanted to do something similar herself.

“I’d been saving buckets left on the beach for ages and trying to intercept people walking down to the beach before they’ve bought one,” she explained. “They’re sold so cheaply it’s not worth it for people to keep them.

Meg Watts with her artwork made from beach litter. PIC: Richard Ponter

Meg Watts with her artwork made from beach litter. PIC: Richard Ponter

“It’s a throwaway society.”

The scheme launched on August 15 as a trial in Fresh Naturals and Geko Glass in the indoor market hall.

Fliss said: “We’re just testing the idea out and ironing out any teething problems but around 15 to 20 businesses have contacted me wanting to be involved.

Fliss has always been interested in environmental causes but since moving to Scarborough from Leeds two years ago, she noticed more and more the amount of litter left on South Bay while walking her dog .

“I had rose-tinted glasses on the first year but now I see it more.

“You can’t live in Scarborough and not feel like you have some sort of responsibility to look after it,” she said.

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The incentive on offer is designed to encourage people to return the buckets, which is why Fliss thinks its important to have a range of businesses involved so there’s something to appeal to everyone.

Meg Watts, 25, who runs illustration shop Darcey Strangeways, is one of the local artists working with Fliss.

She said: “I’m experimenting with what’s marketable.

“If it looks like rubbish people aren’t going to like it.”

Fliss says she speaks to a lot of residents who are keen to tackle the problem.

“It’s nice there are so many other businesses and people in town keen to push and make a stand.

“We need the tourism, there’s no denying that but there’s some sort of mentality that you go and visit a place and you don’t clear up after yourselves like you would at home.”

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Fliss wants to encourage other businesses near the seafront to reduce the amount of packaging and plastic they’re giving to visitors.

“It’s about stopping it going into the sea.

“I moved here because of the beach and it’s being ruined.”

In order for more bucket banks to be installed at other locations, Fliss is in need of more buckets and spades.

Anyone with any they no longer need can donate them at Fresh Naturals or Geko Glass.

Last week The Scarborough News launched our Keep Our Coast Clean campaign by asking visitors to the beach to dispose of their litter properly, or alternatively, take it away with them.

After earlier bank holidays and big seafront events left South Bay strewn with litter, our campaign aims to highlight the work done by volunteer groups, businesses and the council to reduce the amount of rubbish left on the beach and inspire others to do the same.