The fight against plastic pollution in our seas has never been more fierce.
But could the answer to a cleaner marine environment be closer than we think?
When you pick up a shell like this one from the beach, you may just take it home and think of it as a pretty decoration.
But crushed-up shells can actually be really useful.
Here in Tara Digon they’re already selling them locally to farmers for people to use on their driveways and in plant pots.
And now scientists in Swansea think there were a bit of extra research and refinement they could one day be used in our face scrubs and cleaning products.
They’ve been testing whelk shell from this frozen food factory in Newquay.
It processes hundreds of thousands of tonnes of shellfish every year.
The meat is extracted and cooked.
And the shells then become a byproduct.
And we’ve been looking at the possibility of using our sea shells in beauty products for probably about 10 years now.
And then the University in Swansea, we had the opportunity to have a collaboration with them.
As part of that collaboration, scientists have been looking into whether the crushed-up shells could be used as a replacement for microbeads.
Manufacturers in the UK have been banned from using them in products like toothpaste and face scrub because of the damage they do to marine life.
The difference with the shells is that they are very much in the substance.
They they came from the sea originally, so if they end up back in the sea, then that’s not really a problem.
We can at the moment recommend it for use in household cleaning products or as a polisher, a metal polisher that kind of thing.
And then the next step would be to see whether it’d be appropriate for using cosmetics, which would require more analysis.
There’s still a long time to go before we see waste shells used in our everyday products
But a step towards helping the environment could be on the horizon.