Recycling to Stay Fit

Two years ago I was invited to devise a green fitness event for the annual ‘Ullapool Feel Good Festival’ which encourages people to stay fit by taking part in outdoor activity sessions. I came up with the idea of making skipping equipment out of discarded fishing ropes, a transformation which tells the Marine Plastic Litter [MPL] story in a new and engaging way.

Our recycling story starts on a cold, dull day at the beginning of winter 2020 with volunteers braving the elements on Ross-shire beaches to collect the fishing ropes and nets that are constantly washed up on shore. More was collected during the hot summer days of 2021.  Between collecting the material and the event itself, much work was done sorting, washing, drying and cutting the ropes ready to cast into skipping rope handles.

A key development in the story was joining forces with Julien and Joan of Plastic@Bay, who helped research, design and test the metal mould to cast the handles, and helped find finance for the first phase of the project.  

The next location in our story was the Green Hive Workshop in Nairn, where the casting took place, another inspiring community recycling project, where I collaborated with Andy and his volunteers to make the handles. 15 sets of handles were produced for the Festival which took place a year after the story began, with people having fun, skipping on the harbour slipways, in the streets and at school with our Ocean Jump Ropes recycled out of Marine Plastic Litter.

Great fun at pop up skipping events during the Ullapool Feel Good Festival Nov-Dec #2021

The circular economy message will continue with each jump and telling of the story behind the skipping ropes.

We have had many requests from people to buy the Ocean Plastic Jump Ropes. We hope to be able to make more ropes this year so please leave a message if you would like to know when they are available.

We have had many requests from people to buy the Ocean Plastic Jump Ropes. We are looking for funding to improve the mould and casting process (it’s not easy) so we can more ropes this year, so please leave a message if you would like to know when they are available or if you would like to support us. Follow the ‘Recycling to Stay Fit’ story and event pictures on Instagram @juliabartonartist

Many thanks to these funders for helping us begin this recycling story

Shoreline Energy

Winter storms, spring tides and soft snowfalls along nearby shorelines are providing much needed injections of raw energy, to blast away the increasingly felt COVID restrictions.

Determined to stay well and to break through the creative blocks tripping me up at the entrance to my studio, I’m pushing myself to take regular shots of shoreline adrenaline

When it’s safe I collect the storm-thrown plastic draped across rocks and caught in rolls of seaweed, enjoying being part of an ever more popular movement towards #Greenfitness

A way to enhance fitness and health while taking action to improve the outdoor environment.

In November I led two shoreline walks collecting plastic litter from the rolls of washed-up seaweed on local beaches, a #greenfitness commission for the Ullapool Feel Good Festival, to encourage people to be active in the winter, to stay healthy.

The plastic rope and nets collected will be made into skipping rope equipment in partnership with Plastic@bay and Green hive (Community Interest Companies) and available for use in local schools with events like skipathons and skipping challenges organised by Ullapool Community Sport Hub later this year.

It’s bracing and challenging being out and active in the winter especially when working on wind- blown beaches, but one walker commented “Being out and active in winter feels daring and crazy but also great, especially when you know you are helping the environment”. 

This ‘Recycle to Stay Fit’ project with its dual fitness legacy of beach cleaning and skipping has now attracted regional support to get it going. Please follow on