Waving Goodbye to Plastic Pollution with Litter4Tokens

Wouldn’t it be rad if the oceans emitted Wi-Fi? Unfortunately it only releases oxygen; should we care? Over half of our oxygen comes from the ocean and if the ocean goes, we do too. Frighteningly, pieces of micro plastics in the oceans (pieces smaller than 5mm) now outnumber the estimated 250 billion stars in our galaxy and at the present rate there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.


Working hard to not only keep plastic out of the ocean but also educate people about recycling and creating jobs, the Litter4Tokens campaign builds pride and respect for the environment through recycling in several of our communities including KwaDukuza, Port Elizabeth, East London, Richards Bay, Mpumalanga and Estcourt, resulting in less plastic litter making its way into our rivers and oceans.


The concept is quite simple: people collect as many bags of litter as they can in exchange for tokens with which they “buy” food, clothes and other non-perishable essentials at the token shop. No money exchanges hands. One full bag equals one token and the bags are supplied free of charge by PETCO – Plastic Recycling South Africa. The plastic waste is sent to Dolphin Coast Waste Management for recycling and the rebate paid to Litter4Tokens is used to buy goods for the token shop. US Dollar based donations received from international partner, Seahugger makes a big dent in the running cost of the campaign yet, the rate of return is five to one and founder Clare Swithenbank- Bowman and her team of volunteers are calling on retailers to come onboard and donate dry food, clothes and stationery. “Umhlali Preparatory School and Ashton International College have been amazing in collecting food donations and recyclables, with the money generated paid to Litter4Tokens to help fund the Shaka’s Head token shop,” says Clare, who also welcomes private donations.


As funding increases Litter4Tokens will introduce the Icon LifeSaver portable water purification system to the campaign to also stock the token shops with clean, drinkable water – a scarce commodity in some rural areas. This genius device turns dirty water from rivers, lakes and puddles into clean drinking water, which is literally a lifesaver in areas where people collect water from the river in buckets. This part of the Litter4Tokens campaign is still in its infancy and Swithenbank-Bowman is looking for sponsorships to supply the various token shops with larger scale Icon Lifesaver water purification systems that are big enough to supply small communities with water that is safe to drink.


Introducing Mermaid Tears

On October 24, 2017 Durban’s eyes were opened to the global threat nurdles pose to our oceans when a freak storm resulted in two billion nurdles* spilling into the Durban harbour and quickly spread along the entire KZN coastline. In association with the World Nurdle Association, Litter4Tokens has developed and will introduce the Mermaid Tear Catcher at the Ballito Pro, presented by O’Neill. This innovative round Frisbee-like disk is designed to sift through sand and collect nurdles (also called mermaid tears) and doubles as a frisbee, making it both educational and fun. Litter4 Tokens ambassadors Jordy Smith (Championship Tour contender) Grant “Twiggy” Baker (three time Big Wave world champion) Gabi Lailvaux (influential South African junior surfer).

*Nurdle: a very small pellet of plastic that serves as raw material in the manufacturing of plastic goods.