Photo: Green Loop Project – Art Trail

Fylde Council commissioned me to create a series of mixed media sculptures exploring plastic pollution in the area, particularly the coast.

I used what I found on the beach clean with the workshop participants as inspiration to develop a set of artworks that were specific to the issues in the area. I found local businesses to host them in their windows that each had a sustainable service or products to promote. It was good to see cafes swapping over to compostable products and offering discounts for bring your on reusable cup. I was keen to get at least one charity shop on board as they stop items going into landfill but also offer people on a budget a more sustainable option to fast fashion. The DIY shop might be filled with some not so environmentally friendly products but the products they sell enable people to mend things, preventing them ending up in landfill and the staff are often filled with the knowledge of how to fix things.

It was easier to get small businesses on board as could often speak to the owner or a manager with authority to say yes. They also seemd to understand that I was trying to offer them free publicity and encourage people to visit their business. Bigger chains, even the charities, took a lot more work to make contact with the appropriate person. I would really have liked to have placed “Monthly” in Boots as in the centre of the high street, had really long deep white window sills and surprising was the business with the widest sustainable offer: the only shop selling plastic free and reusable sanitary products and nappies, and recycling points for make up packaging. Thankfully Pot Bound stepped in last minute with great enthusiasm and a perfect window space.

Various venues around Kirkham and St. Annes on Sea, Fylde until end of July 2022.

If you are in the area, you can follow the trail by downloading the flyer below:

#1 “Out of Fashion” at Red Cross Charity Shop, Kirkham

The Green Loop particpants were shocked to hear that many people leave sandy clothes and towels on the beach rather than take them home. This was particularly a problem in Blackpool as there is a Primark on the front so people have access to cheap replacements.

#2 “Choice” at Book, Bean & Ice Cream, Kirkham

Standard disposable coffee cups take 30 years to decompose whether it’s an espresso or a grande caramel latte. Good to see cafes using compostable cups but reusable even greener.

#3 “Own Goal” at Grundy’s DIY, Kirkham

Balls and toys left on the beach get swept out to sea where they break up into smaller and smaller pieces forming a plastic soup which sea birds and marine animals mistake for food.

#4 “Message in a Bottle” at Green’s Deli, Kirkham

Water bottles are so lightweight and transparent that they are easy to overlook but can take up to 450 years to decompose. Remembering a refillable water bottle is a small but significant change.

#5 “Even the Sea isn’t Blue” at Kirkham Pet Centre

There isn’t really a true blue colour or pigment in nature and both plants and animals have to perform tricks of the light to appear blue. So if you see something blue on the beach, it probably shouldn’t be there.

#6 “Monthly” at Pot Bound, St Annes on the Sea

On average, a menstruating woman uses 22 pads a month; every month; for years. This really mounts up. The Green Loop Project participants were disgusted by the amount of sanitary pads we found when we did our beach clean.

#7 “Rack & Ruin” at The Original Feelgood Emporium, St Annes on the Sea

The Green Loop Project participants were shocked to hear that many people buy new beach toys each visit and just leave them behind to be swept out to sea.

#8 “Fetch!” at Pets Palace, St Annes on the Sea

Love My Beach who led our beach clean said that discarded balls and toys are a significant problem in this area.

#9 “Out of Fashion 2” at Barnardo’s Charity shop

As much as 88% of fast fashion items contain new plastics. Each year, our clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean; the equivalent of more than 50 billion plastic bottles.

#10 “Wipe Out!” at Tourist Information, Fylde Council Town Hall St Annes on the Sea

11 billion wet wipes are used in the UK each year. It takes more than 100 years for them to break down. Even flushable ones shouldn’t be flushed. We were shocked by how many we found on our beach clean.

#11 “Shake Up” at Ocean Cafe, St Annes on the Sea

Legislation was passed regarding plastic straws but what about the rest of it. Pleased to see cafes offering compostable options but reusable better for the environment and often for your pocket as cafes offer discounts to encourage more sustainable action.