One small town’s recycling stunt ends in a massive cock-up

Plastic bike artwork shown on the left, and on the right is the artwork rearranged into a penis

A community group hoped to get Ilfracombe in Devon onto the TV with its plastic recycling stunt. And it did hit the news. But for a very different reason.

Penis joke

Plastic Free North Devon created a large bicycle outline on Capstone Hill on 3 September. It used material collected during beach cleans. And the group intended it to represent the efforts of North Devon communities to reduce single-use plastics.

The hill artists chose a bicycle because on 3 September the Tour of Britain passed through Ilfracombe. Plastic Free North Devon said, “it might even win @tourofbritain land art competition”. And the group hoped television cameras would capture its art piece. But bad weather meant the helicopter missed Capstone Hill.

However, the artwork hit the headlines later, when it became a giant penis. A prankster rearranged the frame and handlebars into a shaft. The wheels remained as balls.

Tom Harwood, a reporter for right-wing website Guido Fawkesclaimed a former housemate was responsible. The enormous willy was warmly received on social media.

Impact of plastic

According to Devon Live, project coordinator Seth Conway said:

The bike was designed to highlight the great work of the Plastic Free North Devon organisation in helping to clean our beaches and encourage people to cut out single use plastic as much as possible.

And on Facebook, the group used the prank to highlight the effect of plastics on male fertility. It linked to a 4 February Telegraph article about a study into Bisophenol A. This chemical is in household items including till receipts, water bottles and containers. And the study, involving Devon students, showed links to decreased sperm count.

Researchers have discovered plastic pollution in our food and even bottled water. And the University of Hawaii recently showed it contributes directly to climate change.

People have now removed the artwork. It’s unknown if the bike or the penis are in the running for the Tour of Britain competition.

Featured image via YouTube / YouTube.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed