The Broadcast / Surfers Against Sewage: #ReturnToOffender

Surfers Against Sewage: #ReturnToOffender

To mark the 50th Earth Day last week, Wheal Kitty neighbours Surfers Against Sewage went digital with their #ReturnToOffender campaign - the UK's first 'digital beach clean'.

Taking the place of the charity's Big Spring Beach Cleans across the country, this campaign tracks plastic pollution in Britain’s public spaces and on beaches, and challenges manufacturers to do more to protect the environment.


4 min read

Written by Chris Betty

Image by Maeva Cushla

National ocean conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) have launched a new digital ‘beach clean’ campaign, #ReturnToOffender, to challenge the manufacturers of plastic pollution on our beaches, riversides and streets. The campaign is encouraging ocean activists to get involved nationwide with a simple call to arms – See it, Snap it, Share it.

The public are being encouraged to document branded plastic pollution during isolated walks within their daily outdoor government permitted allowance. The images will then be uploaded onto social media, tagging brands and urging manufacturers not to abandon action on the plastic pollution crisis.

#ReturnToOffender - Get involved

#SeeIt – Track branded plastic pollution on beaches, by rivers or in your local park

#SnapIt – Take an image of the plastic pollution, clearly showing the brand name

#ShareIt – Using Twitter or Instagram, share the image with the hashtags

#ReturnToOffender & #SurfersAgainstSewage, tagging the brand responsible & Surfers Against Sewage.


For full instructions on how to get involved and examples messages, head over to

Return To Offender is an award-winning campaign by SAS, originally set up to send items of branded packaging pollution found on Britain’s beaches back to the offending companies.

The #ReturnToOffender campaign urges manufacturers to tackle plastic pollution, and encourages them to publicly respond with their commitments to reduce plastic packaging, support refill schemes, take responsibility for the full life-cycle of their packaging and support the accelerated introduction of a deposit return scheme.

The digital clean up social submissions will be used as data within a larger Surfers Against Sewage campaign, launching June 2020, and will reveal the worst offending plastic brand manufacturers found in Britain’s public spaces and beaches.

“To mark Earth Day, we are launching our first-ever digital beach clean campaign, #ReturnToOffender, highlighting the plastic pollution crisis and urging action from the manufacturers of single-use plastics. Volunteers will see, snap and share images of branded waste during their isolation walks, using social media to call out the main culprits behind the scourge of plastic pollution. Our wild spaces are more important than ever during the current crisis and can’t be forgotten.

Hugo Tagholm, CEO at Surfers Against Sewage

In 2019 the charity ran the UK’s largest ever nationwide survey of packaging pollution found on Britain’s beaches and rivers, conducted by more than 45,000 volunteers during their Big Spring Beach. With over 220 data sets submitted and 20,045 items of packaging pollution recorded this highlighted the impact big business is having on the environment. The report found that Coke and Pepsico were responsible for over 25% of the packaging pollution found on UK beaches.

SAS used this data to urge the Government to put in place stricter rulings, stating that it is critical that new Extended Producer Responsibility regulations ensure transparency in the amount of all producers packaging in order to fully hold the companies to account for the pollution they create.


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