picture showing thousands of tiny plastic pieces shed as a result of plastic windbreak degredation

We Need To Talk About Windbreaks

Or windbreakers, as they're also sometimes known...

I know they're not the first thing that springs to mind when we talk about micro plastics entering our waterways [thats usually clothes- they're the largest culprit after all]

This week, we worked almost exclusively with three large salvaged windbreaks and it was horrifying to see what happens, when they break apart [I wont use the term break down as they, like all the other microplastics, don't break down... ever... forever, the end]

large clear pouch capturing windbreak shavings salvaged by inflatable amnesty

Windbreaks and the majority of deckchair canvases [old school style] are made from PVC coated nylon. 

A hideous thought when you consider these items are laid out on our beaches in very close proximity to the sea...

These particular windbreaks were not even PVC coated nylon, they have literally no bonded strength whatsoever and are very thin strips of polythene, tightly woven together to form panels...

Even those who are mindful of their beach gear and have the best intentions by not leaving them behind and taking care of them year after year, [if they last that log] will at some point reach the stage [probably quite quickly] where their windbreak is no longer fit for purpose and will inevitably go in the bin... so whether left at the beach or languishing in landfill, these little guys will make their way into our waterways...

large beach tote bag made by inflatable amnesty from discarded and salvaged windbreaks

I've always said what we do here, isn't a permanent solution but only a swerve, just to keep these items out of landfill and in purposeful form, for as long as possible, so it has to be hand in hand with some kind of positive action towards eliminating these items, or finding better ways to manufacture them, in more sustainable or regenerative ways...

Which [ahem] brings me onto my next point...

I have just set up a petition on Change.org to work towards the banning of these items from UK beaches or [preferably] the cease of their manufacture altogether!

I mention that being the preferable option, as the banning from UK beaches, would then put the onus on the general public [again!] instead of the manufacturers, who, at the end of the day, need to start making better choices, immediately!

Especially when it comes to novelty non essential items such as these!

It would be great if you would consider supporting by either signing or sharing the petition [or both!]

The link is here

If you would like to see the bags we've made, from the windbreaks [and their shavings!]

You can find them here and here

Thanks for reading x


I remember when wind breaks were made of brightly coloured striped canvas. Are these still available? I know probably more expensive but surely would last longer then the plastic ones. People could re-use the poles if they could find the canvas.

Wendy Welsford

We stopped selling these some years ago for this very reason! They were some of our best sellers & made a ton of money – exactly because they were disposable & people used them for the day/week & then dumped them. We have been in consultation with one of our big beach product suppliers & hope to have a solution next year. Watch this space!

Peter Maidment

I have one of these sitting by my bin. It’s done ten years service but is now shredding. I wish there was an alternative product but we really need protection from the wind on our beach.

Christine Wright

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