Salcombe – the UK’s first plastic clever town?
We caught up with South Hams resident Anna Turns who is working with Kids Against Plastic in a bid to help Salcombe become the UK’s first plastic clever town. Here she tells us about her efforts alongside her daughter Ella and some of the Salcombe businesses who have already joined the #PlasticClever revolution (follow their updates here: www.facebook.com/SalcombePlasticClever)
Most people have heard scary stats on ocean plastics – 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year BUT did you know that every single piece of plastic ever produced is still here?
It never biodegrades, it just fragments and gets smaller. Eight million tonnes of plastic a year reaches our seas from the land and 50% of all marine litter globally is made up of single-use plastic items or fragments of these items.
In Salcombe, plastic litter is a huge problem up the creeks and it is often the tiny microplastics and nurdles (lentil-sized raw plastic pellets) that are found in huge abundance on our beaches.
“Eight million tonnes of plastic a year reaches our seas from the land and 50% of all marine litter globally is made up of single-use plastic items or fragments of these items”
Single-use plastics are things that we only ever intend to use for perhaps a few minutes at a time, but we produce them out of this durable, long-lasting material.
Convenient things like drinks bottles, carrier bags, straws and takeaway coffee cup lids – the BIG FOUR – can all harm wildlife once they reach the sea – even tiny microscopic plankton eat it, turtles mistake plastic packaging for tasty jellyfish and it accumulates in our food chain – one third of UK-landed fish contain microplastics.
This plastic gets onto our dinner plates via the fish and seafood we consume. And as a busy fishing harbour and ‘eco port’ we all need to take more responsibility in Salcombe.
Small changes are all we need!
The good news is that being ‘plastic clever’ doesn’t involve banning anything – it doesn’t involve huge changes for the businesses but celebrates ones thinking responsibly about plastic – eg not automatically putting a straw in every drink but if a customer requests one it can be provided, or checking with the customer whether they are drinking their takeaway latte straight away and if so perhaps they don’t need a lid.
These small steps all add up to making big changes in terms of behaviour and plastics in the ocean. And that will have a direct and positive impact on our beautiful estuary.
Salcombe Businesses Unite Against Plastic!
Ten years ago, Modbury in Devon became the first plastic-bag free town and in fact, we have the potential to make Salcombe the UK’s first plastic clever town just by taking a few simple steps – so celebrating cafes, pubs and restaurants who don’t automatically put straws into every drink or give a discount for takeaway coffees if customers bring their own reusable cups.
My daughter Ella, 6, is helping me to approach some of our local businesses, signing them up to our new Plastic Clever scheme, which is part of a wider campaign called Kids Against Plastic. This town is so reliant on tourism and there’s so much potential for positive PR if we can all help make this happen with just a few simple changes.
We’re therefore really excited to be heading up this campaign and so far we have had such wonderful feedback from businesses and individuals wanting to join our mission to be #PlasticClever –it just goes to show that little people can make big changes!
Here are some of the first Salcombe businesses to get #PlasticClever – we salute all of them and encourage more to join the revolution against single use plastic!
Here at Salcombe Tourist Information Centre we love what Anna and Ella are doing and their enthusiasm so hope they inspire you to question single use plastics and opt for more sustainable alternatives no matter where you are in the country, but especially when you next visit Salcombe!