How to do your own Paddle Against Plastic

Paddle Against Plastic is a platform to do good. A way to take positive action to protect the places you love.

Think your actions can’t make a difference? Check out “Why Bother With A Beach Clean”.

What is a Paddle Against Plastic?

Paddling is a really wonderful way to experience the outdoors – the waterways and coastline which form the arteries and beating heart of our country, and indeed our planet.

Your Paddle Against Plastic can be a number of things, but essentially it is paddling with a purpose. It could be:

  • An expedition, adventure, or paddle where you collect plastic as you go
  • A paddle where you talk to people about the plastic you’re finding, raising awareness of the problem and its locations, e.g. connecting inland waterways to the oceans
  • A vehicle with which to discuss the positive things we can do to tackle this

Paddling Against Plastic can be done on any suitable waterway, or even on the sea – although do have a look at my top 10 tips for SUP safety if you’re planning an ocean adventure. It can be as long or short as you like, from an afternoon jaunt to a month-long expedition. It doesn’t just have to be on a SUP either – kayaks, canoes, even waterbikes – whatever takes your fancy!

You can Paddle Against Plastic alone, or as part of a group. If you haven’t already, please join the Facebook Group, a place where you can ask advice, find people to paddle with or join an already organised clean up. Remember that the main objective should always be to enjoy yourself – paddling is such a great sport and having fun will inspire you and those around you to take further action.

Here are some tips for creating your own Paddle Against Plastic:

  • Decide on somewhere to paddle. Is this going to be the sea, which will make it very weather dependent, or the canals which are suitable in most conditions. To paddle on some canals you’ll need British Canoeing membership, which also provides you with public liability insurance.
  • What are you going to be doing on the paddle – collecting litter? If so you’ll need a receptacle such as a bucket, and a litter picker is really useful for picking things out of vegetation or at the side of a canal. If you’re going to use the paddle to highlight the issue to people, do you have a waterproof camera or phone that you can use to document it?
  • Are you going to paddle alone or with a group? A great way to get a group together, or to join a group, is to check out the Surfers Against Sewage beach and river clean ups which run in Spring and Autumn each year. If you’re looking for people to join you, please post on the Paddle Against Plastic Facebook group!
  • If you are going to be collecting litter, what is your plan for it afterwards? It’s worth having a plan in place, as often you’ll collect more than expected. Is there a local council that can collect the litter from you, or do you have the ability to transport it to a recycling facility nearby? It’s worth making a few phone calls here to ensure you have plans and timings in place so that you’re not left with a car full of litter afterwards.
  • Where is your nearest pub/cafe for post paddling tea/beer?

Paddling Against Plastic can be really fun, really engaging for those who perhaps haven’t been looking for litter before, and will give you a real sense of having done something positive. Thank you for doing so, and please let us know how you get on in the Facebook Group!

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