However, the extent of plastic pollution on Henderson's beaches was such that the researchers made a decision to document it, in a study now published in the journal PNAS. Uninhabited for most of its history and only visited by scientists once a decade or so, Henderson Island should be completely untouched by humanity.
Now scientists have painstakingly counted the plastic debris on its beaches and found 672 separate pieces on the most polluted square metre.
One of many hundreds of crabs that now make their homes out of plastic debris.
During the most recent scientific expedition to the island led by the British nature conservation charity RSPB, found the beaches littered by up to 671 items per square metre, the highest density ever recorded.
She estimates that there are almost 38 million pieces of plastic on and below the surface of the 14 square mile Henderson Island, weighing 17.6 tonnes.
More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash.
It also happens to be near the centre of the South Pacific Gyre, a circular ocean current that gathers together man-made debris carried from South America and deposited by fishing boats. As bad as Henderson Island's 37 million bits of plastic are, that's nothing compared with the Great Pacific garbage patch, a gyre of floating trash that's estimated to be anywhere from Texas-sized to twice the size of the United States.
Since humans do not live there, the pollution on Henderson Island has also never been cleaned up.
The location of Henderson Island, which is part of the the Pitcairn Islands Exclusive Economic Area (boundary for latter shown in light blue).
Henderson Island is in an area of the ocean that is rarely traversed and is not near any shipping lanes or fisheries, with no major land-based industrial facilities or cities within 5,000 kilometres.
Imagine the most ideal square meter of white sandy beach you can. According to Lavers, the items surveyed on the beach were mainly household items including plastic razors, toothbrushes, plastic scoops for baby formula and baby dummies.
Like seabirds and turtles, remote islands serve as sentinels for the health of the wider marine ecosystem, "acting like a sieve or a trap, filtering out the ocean", she said.
Plastic pollution was a major threat to marine species, Dr Lavers said, with a study released in the past two months suggesting about 1,200 species were negatively impacted.
Across the world, humans are dumping roughly eight million tonnes of plastic into the ocean annually, according to a World Economic Forum report published a year ago.