Official line for collecting Pink Bottles and the threat of being fined.

Since the pink bottles started to wash ashore around Porthleven and the Lizard, there has been media about the finer legal points surrounding collecting ‘salvage’ from the beach. The headline is to do with the threat of fines of up to £2.5k for picking up these pink blighters. Technically this true, but there is a reality between helping and salvaging.

The official line can be found HERE. However, as one of the organisers of the recent pink bottle clear up in Porthleven, I did not want to be, or put those residents who volunteered to help at risk from a fine. My understanding of the legislation is we were safe from a fine. But to make sure I contacted the office of the Receiver of Wreck, and they have given me the official line.

If members of the public are picking these bottles up and handing them to the Nation Trust, Council or putting them in to one of the skips provided there is no need to complete a Report of Wreck and Salvage Form. It is considered that the individual is working on behalf of the Council/Nation Trust. The National Trust and Cornwall Council will fill in a form to give idea of the total number – or total weight – of the bottles.

However, if members of the public are removing these bottles from the beach and in to their own vehicles, or doing anything with them that means they are not handed over to the Council/Nation Trust, then they would be performing their own salvage operation. If people are insistent on doing this then they will need to complete a ‘Report of Wreck and Salvage Form’ and return it to the Receiver of Wrecks within 28 days.

So if you collect any place them in the containers or contact the Council highlighting there are a number of pink bottles in a certain location.

I hope this clear up any confusion?


Porthleven’s residents help clear up near 1000 pink bottles washed ashore in the harbour

The fallout from the loss of a shipping container carrying over 18,000 bottles of Vanish detergent still blights the Cornish coast with thousands of the pink bottles still being washed ashore. The bottles have mainly washed up on National Trust owned beaches in the Lizard, although some have washed up on Council owned or managed beaches, and across other parts of Cornwall.

The Cornwall Council have arranged for Cory Environmental to remove any bottles which wash up on Council beaches. Furthermore, the Council has arranged for containers to be provided on privately owned beaches to enable the bottles to be removed safely. Most of the bottles have come ashore intact, with around 20% of them split.  It is estimated that half of the 18,000 pink bottles have been recovered so far.

Over the last few days a large number of these pink bottles have started to come ashore in and round Porthleven. So, on Saturday a pink bottle clean up was organised after the MCA and Cornwall Council delivered five containers to collect the bottles.


A call-to-arms was made via Facebook which resulted in  around 30 residents turning up to aid in the clean up. Most of the bottles were in the outer harbour, which made collecting them a little trickier.

This is did not stop the volunteers who invented a make-shift lifting buckets using recycling bags and a large bag supplied by the local building merchant, The Build Centre which enabled the volunteers to get the bottles from the water and rocks to the top of the harbour walls. Local surfers and kayaks lent a hand by entered the water to collect the bottles

The building merchant also supplied one of its fork-lifts to lift and shift the large containers full of pink bottles. And Porthleven’s Coastguard team were on hand to provide safety cover. Porthleven’s Town Clerk was there helping with the clean-up.

Al Short enters the water to collect the bottles

Al Short enters the water to collect the bottles


Dave and Shaun help collect a 'sting' of bottles

Dave and Shaun help collect a ‘string’ of bottles

The clean up took a few hours and in that time the volunteers collected an estimated 1000 pink bottles. Many of those bottles were now empty, or leaking. I guess the longer these bottles are in the water there is more chance of them bursting.

If more bottles are washed ashore in Porthleven, it is planned to hold another clean up event next weekend subject to the weather, tides and number of bottles washed ashore.

The containers for collecting the bottles are placed on the harbour slip. If anyone does see a pink bottle, please pick it/them up and place in the containers. The more we can remove from the sea, the better it will be for the habitat.

A huge thank you goes to all those who were able to answered my call-to-arm by turning up in some pretty horrible weather to lend a hand. Well done and thank you!!

Some of the volunteers who lent a hand in the clean up

Some of the volunteers who lent a hand in the clean up

The first container is fulled with pink bottles

The second container starts to get filled

The second container starts to get filled

If people have any sightings of bottles they should be reported to the Council on 0300 1234 222 . This number is monitored out of hours and so arrangements can be made for bottles to be collected.