Plastic Pollution
August 04 2011

Tidal Wave of Trash

by Bill Hickman

The Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach / Seal Beach Chapter recently had an award-winning float in their local Independence Day parade that was made from beach trash.  Back in March, chapter member Andre Faubert started his own 30/30 experiment: collecting trash in Huntington Beach for half an hour a day for thirty consecutive days.  Andre accumulated 580 pounds of trash during those thirty days then turned it over to a couple of local design students, Hannah Cosner and Tierney Moses.  Hannah and Tierney transformed the litter into a sculptural display to raise awareness of the amount of trash that we humans create on our local beaches.

Overall it was a four month project that Hannah and Tierney chronicled in their blog Refurbished Rubbish.    Check it out to see how skilled they are to create such a cool float and see the detailed process, which included sorting through the quarter ton of trash that was collected.  It's important to note that the majority of the littered items were plastic, including over 1,300 bottle caps.  That helps to make the float colorful and durable, but those attributes also make plastics dangerous to wildlife.  Plastic does not biodegrade so it can persevere in the wild for many, many years and possibly be mistaken for food by marine life once it hits that water.

The “Tidal Wave of Trash” debuted at the 4th of July parade in Huntington Beach last month.  The chapter extends thanks to Farmers and Merchants Bank, who is dedicated to the environment and sustainability, for entering the float into the parade. Thanks also to Huntington Beach Chevrolet who is letting us use a Hybrid vehicle to pull the float.  The crew ended up getting a first place award as well!  There were wonderful volunteers walking the entire parade picking up trash along the way to help promote Rise Against Plastics.  The reaction from the crowd was great!

In addtion to preventing the litter from entering the ocean, this project did a great job to help raise awareness of plastic pollution issues.  Cheers to everyone involved!