Friday, 20 July 2018

Make Sidmouth plastic free > report from meeting to become a 'Plastic Free Coastline' town and agree a plan of action

Last month, we had a second meeting to help Sidmouth become 'plastic free':
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > public meeting Wednesday 20th June
Futures Forum: Make Sidmouth plastic free > meeting Wednesday 20th June > to become a 'Plastic Free Coastline' town and agree a plan of action

And the meeting had to satisfy the criteria as set out by the Surfers Against Sewage project:
Plastic Free Coastlines • Surfers Against Sewage

And the news is:

We are so close to having our bid to become a 'Plastic Free Coastline' town approved!

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors – Doing everything in our power to get Sidmouth single-use-plastic-free

Meanwhile, here are the minutes from the meeting: 


Hosted by the Futures Forum of the Vision Group for Sidmouth

Wednesday 20th June 2018


·         Members and representatives from the following organisations, comprising the Steering Group of Plastic Free Sidmouth:
o   SidEnergy
o   Sidmouth Arboretum
o   Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub
o   Sidmouth in Bloom
o   Sidmouth Plastic Warriors
o   Vision Group for Sidmouth
·         Members of the public and local community
·         Apologies from: Sidmouth Town Councillors; District Councillors; Neighbourhood Plan steering group

Robert Crick, chair of the Vision Group’s Futures Forum, opened proceedings by asking attendees to introduce themselves and to describe both a positive and a negative ‘experience with plastic’.

The chair then referred to the Minutes of the meeting of 22nd February at which the Plastic Free Sidmouth project was formally launched.

He reminded attendees of the following:
·         At the meeting, a Steering Group of stakeholders, community groups and interested parties within the town was formally set up, to help achieve the status of ‘plastic free town’ for Sidmouth: http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.com/2018/02/make-sidmouth-plastic-free-report-from.html
·         Sidmouth Plastic Warriors was formally tasked with bringing Sidmouth to the first stage of accreditation with Surfers Against Sewage, in our bid to attain Single-Use-Plastic-Free town status: https://www.sas.org.uk/plasticfreecoastlines/ and https://www.sas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Plastic-Free-Coastlines-Community-Toolkit.pdf

Denise Bickley, chair of Sidmouth Plastic Warriors reported on progress made:
·         SPW has taken a lead re community involvement in the project, with hundreds now signing up on Facebook and making use of other social media: https://www.facebook.com/groups/181478989253793/ and https://twitter.com/sidplasticwar?lang=en
·         Community events organised by SPW have included monthly clean-ups in town and on the beach – the latest being last month at the SeaFest: http://sidmouthplasticwarriors.org/clean-up-5-sas-sidmouth-sea-fest-may-12th-2018/ Another is planned for 24th June – with support from East Devon District Council.
·         SWP has received an enthusiastic mandate to support the project from the Town Council: http://sidmouthplasticwarriors.org/sidmouth-town-council-meeting/ This has been followed up by the Town Clerk inviting SWP to assist with further projects, including signage and installation of water fountains.
·         SWP has worked closely with schools: that the campaign is enthusiastically supported by young people provides a positive corrective to the tendency to blame ‘youth’ for plastic waste: http://sidmouthplasticwarriors.org/sidmouth-college-assemblies-april-2018/ At this evening’s meeting it was proposed that they should be approached to help design the logo for Plastic Free Sidmouth (see below).
·         SWP has engaged 16 businesses in the project, following a very positive presentation to the Chamber of Commerce: http://sidmouthplasticwarriors.org/sidmouth-chamber-of-commerce-may-2018/ Further businesses and organisations are making moves to offer plastic free alternatives – including the Folk Week organisers (see below).

The meeting also considered other events and actions forming part of the Plastic Free Sidmouth project, including:
·         The establishment of Sidmouth’s first ‘plastic-free’ festival: the SeaFest demonstrated that caterers and stall-holders could not only function very well but that the public were very enthusiastic about the initiative: https://www.facebook.com/events/202299560323789/ and http://sidmouthcoastalcommunityhub.org/sidmouth-sea-fest/
·         The Sidmouth Plastics Week organised by the Futures Forum of the Vision Group and the Sidmouth Science Festival: https://visionforsidmouth.org/event/sidmouth-plastics-week-launched/ and http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.com/search/label/sidmouth%20plastics%20week
·         A Freedom of Information request to Devon County Council re the handling of plastic waste by the authority: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sending_plastic_to_the_correct_r#incoming-1166516 
·         Sidmouth in Bloom’s ‘Sidcombers’ clean-up events in the town and on the beach: http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/join-in-town-task-force-day-to-spruce-up-sidmouth-1-5535079 and http://sidmouth.gov.uk/78-news-from-sidmouth-town-council/668-town-task-force-clean-up-day SPW and SIB have been coordinating their clean-up events: the next is on 27th June.
·         The Museum, run by the Sid Vale Association, with a series of exhibitions, including on Tuamor the Turtle, by local children’s author Jo Earlem: http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.com/2018/05/tuamor-turtle-comes-to-sidmouth-sea.html
·         Jurassic Paddle Sports installation of a #2minutebeachcleanboard on the seafront: http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/time-for-a-2minutebeachclean-in-sidmouth-1-5106788

The chair asked attendees to contribute ideas for Actions over the coming weeks to enable the Plastic Free Sidmouth project to progress further. It was suggested that the following groups and organisations should be approached:
·         Recycling Centre re charging for receiving material/goods, which actually encourages fly-tipping and unauthorized dumping of waste.
·         Supermarkets: for example, bags for bread and vegetables.
·         Independent shops: for example, the fruit & veg shop in Exmouth provides a model by using a ‘scoop’ system, thus avoiding plastic bags.
·         Organisers of Folk Week and pubs re eliminating use of disposable plastic beakers; the Rugby Club already have a system in place for selling beverages.
·         Chamber of Commerce re publicising good practice; bulk discounts on alternatives.
·         Schools re designing bags and logo for Plastic Free Sidmouth; re interviewing residents about ‘What are you doing to help?’
·         Individuals re initiatives, for example, ‘The One Bin Challenge’, reducing rubbish and so using only one bin per year, as it is not just a matter of replacing plastic with alternatives but of reducing consumption and waste generally.
·         Town Council re signage encouraging smokers to dispose of (plastic) cigarette ends.
·         Library re displays on solutions and alternatives.
·         SWW re the "Sidmouth specific" case  that our drains discharge directly into the ocean. 

One particular initiative which was suggested was a ‘plastic strip’ outside supermarkets: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-43559636 and http://futuresforumvgs.blogspot.com/2018/04/shop-and-drop-day-of-action-at-irish.html
·         on a particular day at a given time, shoppers would ‘strip off’ their plastic packaging as a coordinated action to demonstrate the amount of plastic used by retailers;
·         retailers would be approached beforehand, to give warning and details of action; to be asked to provide recycling bins;
·         statements would be made to the press, to make the purpose of the actions clear to the wider community;
·         tables would be laid outside to help shoppers remove packaging and provide leaflets and further information.

The chair closed the meeting, thanking the Steering Group and members of the wider community for their contributions and confirming that further actions would be posted on-line and in the press.

It was hoped that the meeting would further the SAS accreditation process – to enable Sidmouth to become a plastic free town.

Finally, attendees were reminded that Sunday 24th June would see the next clean-up, taking place in Woolbrook.

Vision Group for Sidmouth

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