Kate Hodgson makes ghost rope bowls as a hobby and will be selling then at Go Go Refill on July 10 in order to spread awareness about plastic pollution. Courtesy photo Kate Hodgson

SOUTH PORTLAND — Hoping to bring attention to plastic pollution, a South Portland resident will sell ghost rope bowls on July 10 at Go Go Refill at 64 E St.

Kate Hodgson, who lives in Ferry Village, started picking up plastic litter from South Portland and Cape Elizabeth beaches a few years ago, she said.

“Because of the beaches around South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, there’s a lot of ghost rope, rope that’s washed ashore from fishermen and so forth, and I had seen people make baskets out of them and thought I could do it,” Hodgson said.

The sale coincides with Plastic Free July, a global movement, she said. All money raised will go to the Plastic Pollution Program at Natural Resources Council of Maine.

“It’s more than the money,” she said. “It’s raising awareness about how much plastic is a problem in our oceans.”

An initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation, Plastic Free July works towards a vision of a plastic-free world, according to its website.


Kate Hodgson picking up plastic rope and trash at Spring Point in South Portland. Courtesy photo Kate Hodgson

Hodgson said she will be at Go Go Refill on July 10 to provide information from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. She also has an Instagram page @drowning.in.plastic, that has received a worldwide following.

“We are very, very lucky in Maine that so much of the trash bypasses us because of the water current,” she said. “But it does hit Ireland and Cornwall, the west coast of Britain, France, as well, and so forth.”

Seeing the effects of plastic pollution, which can kill sea mammals, is what keeps Hodgson invested, she said.

“I was born in 1959, and I have gone from what was considered the ‘plastic miracle,’ where plastic was just this amazing product,” she said. “We’ve gone from this plastic miracle to a plastic pandemic, and it’s just getting worse. To me, the best thing is the reduction of plastic in any way you can.”

Spreading awareness is one of the biggest steps in combatting the problem, especially when it comes to micro-plastics, fragments of plastics, Hodgson said.

“We eat or ingest a credit card’s worth of micro-plastics worldwide on average,” she said. “They’ve been found in fetuses. It’s just a huge problem and it’s getting worse and worse. The best thing people can do is stop using plastic wherever they can, so no plastic bags. Stop using straws, and refilling things instead of buying new plastic bottles, buying in bulk.”

People who want to learn more can visit Hodgson at Go Go Refill on July 10 or follow her on Instagram, she said. Another former South Portland resident, Kathryn Nelson, runs the same type of account as Hodgson, @plasticfreemermaid on Instagram, with over 100,000 followers.

“Really, I’ve heard it so many times,” Hodgson said. “People say, ‘Well, I recycle,’ and recycling, as we’re all beginning to grasp, is not the answer. There’s so much wrong with the recycling program, and there’s so much that we can’t recycle. To some extent that’s part of the problem. when you break plastic down it can create even more micro-plastics, and it’s the micro-plastics that we’re finding in our vegetables, water systems.”

Go Go Refill is a refilling station that is dedicated to cutting down on plastic, Hodgson said. Customers visit with their own refillable bottles, and the store is trying to introduce plastic-free products to consumers.

The type of rope Kate Hodgson collects to make ghost bowls. She said that fishermen will also donate leftover rope to her. Courtesy photo Kate Hodgson

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