Henderson Island Beach Clean-Up

In 2019, Valpak sponsored and took part in an expedition to the island, which aimed to clear 10 tonnes of plastic waste from its beaches

Henderson Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located more than 3,000 miles from the nearest major land mass, and can lay claim to be one of the most remote places on the planet.

Henderson Island – East Beach disposables
Henderson Island East Beach

The problem

Despite its near-perfect isolation, Henderson Island’s location, near the South Pacific Gyre, has seen it attract the unwanted title of having the highest density of plastic rubbish anywhere in the world.

Ocean currents collect waste from every corner of the globe and deposit it upon Henderson Island’s beaches. An estimated 38 million pieces of plastic litter the Island, with up to 13,000 new pieces washed up each day.

Photographs courtesy of Dr. Jennifer Lavers, www.adriftlab.org

Expedition aims

The expedition aimed to clear 10 tonnes of plastic waste from the island’s beaches and provide scientific data to monitor the rate of plastic accumulation and the impact it has upon the local wildlife.

The stuff.nz team published a report following the project “Desert Island Dump: The shameful state of Henderson Island.”

Valpak sponsorship

Valpak sponsored the clean-up and we hope to manage a feasibility study around the potential to recycle the litter collected.

In June 2019, James Beard, Valpak’s Recycling Services Manager, travelled to the Island as part of a 12 person team tasked with monitoring plastic accumulation. He spent four weeks travelling to the island and helping with the beach clean-up.

Henderson Island Video

View our Henderson Island Video

James explains the details of the 2019 Henderson Island expedition and beach-clean project in this video.

Steve, Lucy, Lisa you gave me an extremely difficult choice! Nine excellent applications and four terrific interviews. Any one of today’s four candidates would no doubt do a terrific job on Henderson.

Johnny Briggs, Officer, Pew-Bertarelli Ocean Legacy