Saturday, 9 June 2018

Make Sidmouth plastic free > meeting Wednesday 20th June > press release

Following on from the first meeting back in February
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > report from first meeting

... there will be a second meeting to finalize the bid to become
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > meeting to finalise SAS bid > Wednesday 20th June

This will be held in the Leigh Browne Room of the Dissenters’/Unitarian Hall – on Wednesday 20th June at 7pm.

The initiative being led by the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors as part of the Surfers Against Sewage accreditation scheme: 
Sidmouth Plastic Warriors seek council’s support to achieve plastic free accreditation | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald
Plastic Free Communities • Surfers Against Sewage

Here's the press release from Denise Bickley of the Plastic Warriors:

Plastic-Free Sidmouth nearing bid completion

We all know the harm that plastic is doing in our environment, to the sea and to our wildlife on land too. In order to sort out the global problem, it is vital that we act locally and all band together to make real change.

To this end, the bid for Sidmouth to become a 'Single Use Plastic Free Town, accredited by Surfers Against Sewage, is almost complete. A meeting is being hosted by the Futures Forum of the Vision Group for Sidmouth on Wednesday 20th June at 7pm at the Unitarian Church (Leigh Brown room, opposite the Mustard Seed), which is the final part of the process required. All are welcome to attend.

As part of the bid, various criteria had to be met:

  • 12 the local shopkeepers had to sign up to change at least 3 single-use plastic things they use, be it straws, ice cream scoops or water-cooler cups, to a more sustainable alternative. 
  • The local community had to be engaged, which has been achieved by multiple litter picks organised by Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, as well as Plastics Week run by the Futures Forum of the Vision Group. 
  • Social media links had to be active, in order to engage a further audience. Visit sidmouthplasticwarriors.org for all the links if you want to follow them.
  • The Town Council had to agree a motion to support the bid - which they more than did. They have also been looking at how to reduce their own footprint, and encouraged Sea Fest in their bid to run completely plastic free, and hope that Sidmouth Folk Week will be run along the same lines.
  • Lastly a steering committee had to be established and at least 2 meetings held. This is the last part to be agreed: the first meeting has already been held and a committee agreed, but once we have held the next meeting on 20th June we will submit the minutes to Surfers Against Sewage and should then receive the formal accreditation.

Once that part of the process is complete, we will not be sitting back relaxing. The plan is to continue to encourage as many businesses in town as possible (all hopefully!) to cut out all single-use plastics. We have lots of ways we would love as many people as possible to become involved:

  • Look at your own plastic use. Could you cut down? Stop buying plastic drinks bottles (use the Refill scheme - stickers in town cafes); take a cotton reusable bag to the shops every time and avoid plastic bags at all cost; tell cafes to stop giving out plastic straws if they give you one without asking; avoid buying packaged fruit and vegetables
  • Get active - talk to shop owners who you feel could improve. It may not be something they've thought about! Get on social media and ask them to change.
  • Join the Plastic Warriors litter picks, or do your own. The next one is on Sunday June 24th 2-4pm, starting and ending (bring a picnic) at Long Park. Equipment provided. We will also be trying to do a daily beach clean during Folk Week to keep on top of it.
  • Report problems such as bushes decorated with dog bags. We all moan about it but there are ways of getting them stopped, by telling the dog warden or StreetScene. Clearing up an area does deter people from dropping litter.

The only way we will win the war on plastic pollution is if we all do our bit, starting today. For more information on our campaign, visit sidmouthplasticwarriors.org or find us on Facebook. Come along to the meeting with any ideas you have, and to listen to what is being done to fight the global problem locally.

Denise Bickley

7th June 2018


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