– Based on numbers, 94 % of the marine litter collected and analysed was made of plastic. Surprisingly small amounts of this is plastic film, says Frode Syversen, Managing Director of Mepex. Apart from a few large garbage bags, employees at Mepex didn’t actually find a single plastic bag.

Small and large containers, bottles, and food packaging made up most of the plastic. Large amounts of this came from foreign countries.

– We found food packaging and cleaning products from Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France, says Syversen.

81 percent of the plastic bottles were foreign

Employees at Mepex god a head start on the beach clean-up on the military island Rauer just off the coast of Fredrikstad. They collected marine litter from a 150m long beach and found over 360 kg of waste that was sorted and analysed. Plastics made up 73 % of the collected marine litter by weight.

The marine litter consisted of large amounts of bottles. 485 bottles were sorted and categorised where analyses showed that 81 % of the bottles came from foreign countries. 34 cans were also found, where one-third were of Norwegian origin.

Crumbling plastic 

The beach that was cleaned on Rauer had not been cleaned since 1999. There was extreme amounts of marine litter present, and much of it seemed to have been there for a long time.

– Many plastic items crumbled into smaller pieces when we touched it and tried to pick it up. This made the clean-up and sorting process more difficult. This was especially the case for plastic made out of polyethylene (HDPE), says Syversen.

The first of 5 clean-ups

The analysis of marine litter on Rauer was the first of 5 planned clean-ups that Mepex will participate in, and where marine litter will be analysed and categorised. The first clean-up provided valuable data and experience that will be beneficial for the remaining analyses.

– This exciting project is in collaboration with Keep Norway Beautiful, Infinitum, and The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature, and it is supported by The Norwegian Environment Agency. We believe this will give us newfound knowledge about plastic that ends up as marine litter, says Syversen.