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Litter Free Dorset has partnered with Weymouth Town Council and Weymouth & Portland Marine Litter Project to launch a new initiative to reduce single use plastic waste this summer, opening on Wednesday 27th July.

Weymouth will host a new toy library on the slipway next to the Beach Office, to encourage reuse of beach toys and reduce the number of toys being left on the beach over the holiday season.

Most toys are made of plastic and it is estimated that over 80% end up in landfill, incineration or in our oceans. Weymouth & Portland Marine Litter Project currently picks up around 100kg of plastic waste every month – just from the coast around Weymouth and Chesil Beach!

Over time, these plastics deteriorate and fragment into microplastics which are extremely difficult to remove from the marine environment, posing a risk to our own health and a danger to marine life. Microplastics will remain in the environment forever and can cut, trap or be ingested by our local birds, marine mammals, and other animals.

A toy library is just one thing we can do at a local level to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans, so join Litter Free Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Marine Litter Project, and Town Council representatives on the beach from 10am on Wednesday 27th July to launch the new toy library with some fun beach activities.

Emma Teasdale, Project Officer at Litter Free Dorset said: “We are delighted to launch this exciting new scheme, the first of its kind in Dorset. Our primary aim is to reduce waste by encouraging reuse of toys, but it can also save you money as there’s no need to buy lots of new kit when you visit the beach, just borrow from our toy library then drop them back for the next visitors to enjoy”.

Broken toys can also be returned to the toy library. These will be sorted and removed by Weymouth Town Council, who will manage the scheme day-to-day.

Cllr David Harris, spokesperson on Weymouth Town Council’s climate and ecological emergency work, said: “The beach toy library is such a simple and cost-effective way to help reduce single use plastic waste and promote reuse, helping everyone enjoy the beach. This also supports the council’s climate and ecological actions as at the end of the summer all the unwanted toys will be taken to a specialist recycling centre to be recycled.”

Broken toys will then be collected by Weymouth & Portland Marine Litter Project, the scheme’s recycling partners.

Dave Taylor, co-founder of Weymouth & Portland Marine Litter Project said: “We work with a specialist company using an innovative process to repurpose the hard-to-recycle plastics we collect, which are made into plastic board used to make furniture and other items. We will now add any broken plastic beach toys left in the new toy library to the list of items we collect, giving them a new lease of life and preventing more waste”.

Help prevent the spread of plastic pollution and save some pennies this summer – use Weymouth Beach Toy Library!

For more information about Litter Free Dorset and to stay up to date with their current projects and campaigns, check out the Litter Free Dorset website and social media channels:

• Facebook: @LitterFreeDorset 

• Instagram: @litterfreedorset 

• Twitter: @LitterFreeDrst