The caddy was discovered on the beach, some 12 miles east of Brighton, by Plastic Free Seaford group member and regular swimmer Claire Sumner last Sunday and she later took to Facebook to post photos: ‘Today Tide Mills beach was heavy in beach debris. I found a food compost bin that had travelled from Guernsey,’ she wrote.
She was surprised to receive messages from Guernsey about her find: ‘It’s caused such a flurry of excitement on the island,’ she told members of the Plastic Free Seaford Facebook group. ‘I’m absolutely thrilled.
‘The spring tide was bringing in loads of plastic detritus and debris.’
Mrs Sumner ended up using the caddy to collect other rubbish she found along the shore that day: ‘This is the mentality we have to change if we are to make any headway with putting consumers off buying throwaway when we all have the option to choose refill and refuse throwaway,’ she said.
Her 15 minutes of fame in Guernsey led to her thinking she would like to visit the island sometime, she told her Facebook viewers, suggesting that perhaps the island could do a ‘beach clean swap’ with Seaford.
Guernsey Waste recycling officer Tina Norman-Ross said the vast majority of households still have their original caddy, delivered to them in 2018: ‘Since then we have replaced around 5,000, either because they have been lost or damaged,’ she said.
There were bound to be instances where caddies went astray and it was always expected that there would be an ongoing requirement for replacement: ‘Obviously we would like to keep it to a minimum.’
But she said it was surprising that this caddy had travelled such a distance: ‘When caddies do go astray in the night, they tend not to go quite this far,’ she said.
Those that are lost usually have a good chance of finding their way back to their owners as long as they have a house name on them.
The caddies and glass bags have a space for the owners to write their house name or flat number, but they can be customised however the owners see fit.
This has led to Guernsey Waste launching a social media campaign called ‘Love your caddy’ in an effort to encourage households to name or decorate their caddies, making it visible and secure.
Anyone who requires a replacement caddy or glass bag can contact Guernsey Waste at firstname.lastname@example.org.