Source to sea

How Source to Sea forms are changing

2 minute read

We recently asked our volunteers about their experiences conducting inland litter surveys. We've used feedback to make some changes to our Source to Sea inland litter items. Find out what's changing and why.

We’re always striving to improve our projects to make sure the data we collect is valuable and can create real change which better protects our ocean. All the items listed on our Source to Sea survey are carefully chosen, with the help of our clean seas team, to collect data and provide evidence for policy changes which improve the way we manage and protect our seas.

To ensure our projects are fun and easy to get involved in too, we collect feedback from our volunteers and use this to make improvements. We did this recently with volunteers who conduct Source to Sea litter picks, and have used their feedback to add, and remove, some items from our litter forms.

Items we're adding


Crisp and sweet packets are commonplace in almost all natural environments, and our volunteers have been reporting them to us in great numbers on beaches for 30 years.

Our inland supporters have also been finding these packets on Source to Sea litter picks, spotting them in parks, rivers and school grounds, but with no way to record them. Now, after speaking with our volunteers, we’ve decided to add packets (from crisps, sweets etc) to our litter forms.

Crisp litter

Collecting this data will help us to better track this litter, which is consistently found on beaches, back to source. It can also be useful evidence for any future campaigns on packaging.


14 million single-use vapes are sold each month in the UK and many end up littered on our streets where they pollute the environment. They make their way into rivers and eventually, the ocean, with volunteers now finding vapes on beach cleans.

We’ve been supporting our Youth Ocean Network member, Laura Young, in her crusade on single-use vapes and have decided to add them to our Source to Sea litter survey form so we can provide evidence on the scale of the problem.

Disposable vapes, Laura Young

Credit: Laura Young

"Disposable vapes encourage a throwaway culture and bring more single-use plastics into our economy. It's time to see banned; for environmental protection, public health, a circular economy, and net zero."

Laura Young

If you find vapes littered in the environment, Material Focus advises bringing them to a drop-off point at your local authority site, or a local specialist or supermarket vape retailer where they'll be properly, and safely, handled.

Items we'll be removing

PPE - Single-use facemasks and single-use gloves

PPE has been really important in keeping us safe during the pandemic over the last few years. As a result, we saw an increase in single-use face masks and gloves found in our environment, with almost 70% of inland cleans recording PPE in 2021.

As we come out of the pandemic, we’re seeing the number of PPE items found in our environment decrease, with 40% of inland litter picks and 17% of beach cleans recording them in 2022.

To reduce the number of items on the form, we're removing these, but will continue to monitor them on beaches around the UK.

PPE mask litter on coast path in Cornwall Natasha Ewins

Credit: Natasha Ewins

Get involved

Wherever you are in the UK, anyone can take part in our Source to Sea litter quest and contribute to real change. Together we can create real change and a sustainable future for our ocean.

Join a Source to Sea inland litter pick

Source to Sea Litter Quest