Plastic Soup Surfer

My name is Merijn Tinga, 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.

My campaigns and expeditions have influenced political resolutions and have led to product bans. Together with an growing army of passionate people, we continue to drive results and influence change. I share my story to inform, inspire and help others to make a difference too.

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Ultra windsurf expeditions to advocate deposit return schemes in European countries

Windsurfing and supping from London to Paris, short docu from Eelke Dekker

From June 22 until July 11, I've been on a 850 km windsurf and sup expedition from London to Paris on a board that contained littered plastic bottles from the Seine. During this expedition, I carried an alternative Olympich Torch.

On the day of my arrival, July 11th, I've been handing the Olympic Torch to Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris. Together we've been advocating for the introduction of a deposit system for plastic bottles and cans.

Conference on reducing litter

On the day of my arrival in Paris, July 11th, together with the Académie du Climat, we organised a conference on reducing litter, where I have been discussing the introduction of a deposit return scheme with all French stakeholders. I showed video messages from former Ministers and politicians who succesfully introduced deposit return schemes in their countries.

More info: Flyer (French), Website (French).

Paris Declaration

I drafted the "Paris Declaration" for the Conference, a petition calling for the rapid introduction of deposit return schemes. This Declaration was signed by the City of Paris, among others, a great result!

A task force of municipalities, industry and NGOs is being set up as a result of the Conference to work out the next steps to introduce deposits in France. The city of Paris and renowned French deposit ambassador Arthur Germain are taking the lead in this plan.

Oslo → London → Paris

The London-Paris windsurfing expedition is the second part of the international campaign to advocate for deposits on plastic bottles and cans in European countries. It is the follow-up to the Oslo-London 1800 km windsurfing expedition 2023, in which I brought English plastic bottles, picked up at the Swedish coast, back to the UK. In Westminster I advocated for the rapid introduction of a solid deposit system.

London-Paris Expedition 2024

Would you like more information? Or do you want to contribute yourself by posting social media messages? We've put som photo's and materials online for you: 

Expedition leaflet

Expedition photo's

Toolkit with social media tags en hashtags

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

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.