Newquay BID are proud to support this wonderful initiative – content below written by Land & Sea Cornwall. For more information on how your business can help or get involved, please do contact Land & Sea for more information. 

11,000 miles on a ship from China to end up as waste in Cornwall after minutes of use. The cheap and often single use body boards often popular with tourists due to their attractive price points, end up littering Newquay beaches each season. With an average of 2 Million visitors to Cornwall each year and more than ever expected for the year of the ‘staycation’, if just 1% of average visitor numbers bought a cheap board, that would be 20,000 boards.

In a huge collaboration between Ocean Recovery Project, BeachCare, Keep Britain Tidy, SWM & Waste Recycling Ltd, Land & Sea Cornwall CIC, Newquay Marine Group, Friends of Fistral Dunes, Cornwall Council, Cormac, Clean Cornwall, Newquay Town Council, National Trust and Newquay BID; Newquay is taking a stand and saying NO! to these cheap body boards being discarded at beauty spots including South Fistral/Esplande Green, Porth, Towan Beach, Crantock, Holywell Bay and North Fistral.

Richard McIlwain, Deputy Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy: “Once again it’s down to the good will of passionate beach clean volunteers to collect the discarded rubbish left by others, who seem to consider the beach is a dumping ground. Through our BeachCare programme in the South-West we have over many years collected thousands of cheap, disposable body boards, which break easily and are then discarded. We would like to see these cheap, single use plastic items banned and instead develop a vibrant rental market for better quality boards, which would give beach users a more fulfilling and more sustainable experience.”

There are already proven, working initiatives in Croyde (where more than 400 boards were discarded on the beach in 2020!) thanks to the sterling work of Ocean Recovery Project with Neil Hembrow at the stern and they have recently set one up in Bude. Watergate Bay collect boards for the project having collected approximately 150 broken body boards last summer holidays.

Neil of Keep Britain Tidy and Ocean Recovery Project said polystyrene body boards were “like a tidal wave of waste washed up on beaches”.

For wider information, please visit:

Laura Guy-Wilkinson – chair of Newquay Marine Group said “We have been working closely with Keep Britain Tidy through our sister group Newquay Beach Care. The body board recycling project has always been something we wanted to tackle and are proud to be working closely with Land & Sea Cornwall CIC on this initiative. It will be really interesting to see how many boards are collected over the summer and we hope this is the start of a larger conversation on ultimately getting rid of these type of boards.”

How It Works:

Once the boards are collected by local volunteers, they will be stored at Newquay Marine Group’s storage facility wherein they will be stripped into component parts

SWM Waste & Recycling Ltd (Barnstaple, Devon) are recycling the EPS (Expanding Polystyrene Sheets) from the body boards thanks to this process being set up with Ocean Recovery Project. Previously, this scheme has successfully conducted projects with local businesses reusing the EPS for under floor cushioning, annexe or music room insulation, workshop insulation, bee hives etc. So if any local businesses have a project in mind that would be perfect for reusing the EPS, please get in touch with Land & Sea Cornwall

The board straps will get donated to locals or Newquay businesses who need replacements

Fabric from the body boards is being upcycled into beach cleaning bags

Gemma Turner, Director of Land & Sea Cornwall CIC commented “It’s so exciting to be able to launch this collaborative project at this time, particularly in light of us having hosted G7 here in Cornwall. These cheap, often single use body boards come at a huge cost to the environment particularly regarding their carbon footprint, as most are shipped all the way from China. Encouraging locals and visitors alike to purchase or rent better quality or wooden re-usable boards (ideally made locally) is how we want to move forward. This aim also fits perfectly within the vision of Cornwall’s Environmental Growth Strategy 2015-2065.”

The body board recycling scheme is also supported by Newquay Town Council and Louis Gardner, Newquay Town Mayor who said “This is an extremely welcome initiative that is badly needed in Newquay. Each year hundreds of broken and unwanted body boards are discarded on our beaches at great expense to our local environment. The key element of this scheme is that it is supported by multiple stakeholders, volunteer groups, residents, Cornwall Council and Newquay Town Council have come together to support the scheme, which I am sure will be a huge success.”

The message is, take the sustainable route to body boarding in our seas. There are many new initiatives emerging within Newquay where it is possible to hire out wooden belly boards for free!

Natalie Gibb, Clean Cornwall Manager has wider visions for Cornwall banishing these single use boards, “I think it is important to encourage the message that ‘Kernow says No’ to products that pose such an immediate threat to our natural environment and wildlife. We are working with the Clean Cornwall partnership which includes local authority, Cornish businesses, NGO’s and the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition to drive a collaborative campaign that we hope will result in a complete ban of sale of snappable body boards across our county. Instead, we would like to help people discover other ways to enjoy a day at the beach without having an impact on those very places that make Cornwall so special”.

“We have worked with local community groups to identify and approve suitable locations for these recycling boxes close to our stunning beaches. We encourage all residents and visitors to Respect, Protect & Enjoy Cornwall’s natural environment and use the boxes to dispose of broken boards responsibly rather than leaving them to end up littering our coastline.” – Martyn Alvey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Cornwall Council.