Plastic Soup Surfer

My name is Merijn Tinga and I am the Plastic Soup Surfer.

In 2014, I built a surfboard using washed-up plastics and surfed it along the Dutch coast, earning my nickname: Plastic Soup Surfer. Since then, I'm focusing my campaigns on policy makers and companies.

To date, my campaigns and expeditions have influenced political resolutions and product bans. Together with an ever-growing army of passionate people, we continue to drive results and influence change. I share my story to inspire and teach others how they too can make a difference.

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Finish to the 1800km Olso-London expedition July 19th 2023

International Campaign for Deposit Systems

BBC NEWS coverage of the Oslo-London expedition and the arrival in London

The Oslo-London expedition is the first major action through which I will work to expand Deposit Return Sysytems in Europe. Deposits are the best way to prevent litter and enable reuse of resources.

Countries like Belgium, France and the UK do not yet have deposit laws or are in the process of introducing them. I have a lot of experience with the introduction of such a deposit law and the forces at play. I will bring that knowledge to our neighboring countries.

2023 Oslo-London Windsurf Expedition

In the summer of 2023, I windsurfed from Oslo to London. I returned an English 'Lucozade' bottle I had found on the shore of an Swedish island to London Westminster along with lessons learned about Deposit Return Systems, which I handed over the the MP's and Lord Benyon. 

On January 31, I will be back in Westminster.
Please sign the letter we wish to hand over to Minister mr. Moore, responsible for the Deposit Return System legislation. 

SIGN THE LETTER TO MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT MR. MOORE

I also handed over testimonies from ministers and operators that implemented deposit systems in other countries. Deposits appear to be immensely popular with the public. They decrease littering by over 80% and have huge high value recycling rates.

Ongoing fight for a sustainable deposit system

Deposit systems are the most effective way to combat litter at it’s source. The UK government planned to introduce deposits on plastic bottles and cans by October 2025. However, it looks like the introduction of the law wil be postponed, after retail has been calling for a delay. I know from my own experience how influential the opposition from supermarkets and other corporations can be, so it’s critical that politicians keep their backs straight and stick to the deadlines.

On January 31, I will deliver personal video messages from former ministers to representatives of political parties at Westminster Hall. This will take place during a meeting with British MPs, Lords and NGOs such as Keep Britain Tidy and Reloop. The international messages from former ministers and others highlight the effectiveness and importance of deposit systems.

Oslo-London Expedition

Personal video messages

These are three personal video messages I will hand over to representatives of political parties on januari 31.

Stientje van Veldhoven (Dutch Minister 2017-2021)
Rauno Raal (Director Deposits Estonia 2008-2018)
Watch the video - 8.55 min
Jeff Angel (Director Boomerang Alliance Australia 2004-now)
Watch the video - 5.00min

Plastic pollution starts on land, so we need to tackle it at its source.

Surfing & politics

The record attempt crossing that led to deposits and a spectacular decrease in littering.

In 2017, the Plastic Soup Surfer forces a political breakthrough with a resolution he drafted himself. Bottle deposits lead to a major decline in littering. The record attempt kitesurf crossing of the North Sea – 180km from The Netherlands to England, on a board made from plastic bottles – is the kickstart to a petition for bottle deposits, and is signed by 60 thousand people.

See our results

Captains of industry

A +1000km SUP expedition on the river Rhine to confront the source of the plastic pollution: the producers

He confronts the CEOs of Coca Cola, Heineken, Pepsico, Spa and Dutch supermarkets using a bailiff and a judicial notice specially developed for this occasion. He takes along the plastic bottles he found in the river Rhine after having paddled it from its source, high up in the Alps down to its murky river mouth (>1000km). A campaign from source to sea and then back upstream to the source of the plastic pollution: The companies.

See all expeditions

Unite the fight

With the Dutch community of plastic activists and NGOs he organized a national conference on the future of plastics (2019). The resulting ‘Plastic Avengers Manifest’ states 5 principles to a ‘sustainable use of plastics’.

VP Frans Timmermans became the ambassador.

Read our vision

Read, listen, see more

The Plastic Soup Surfer believes storytelling is a powerful way to get the message across. The attention is focussed on those that make the decisions like politicians and company CEO's. We are dedicated to change, sustainablity and making impact.

Book

I am not accusing the material, but the way we put it to use. Plastic is a catalyst to our throw-away society.

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The Plastic Paradox is the contradiction between the responsibility demanded by the use of plastic and the fact that we apply this material as disposable and to facilitate short-term convenience and TO-GO impulses.