LYME Regis has achieved its goal of attaining a Plastic Free Communities Award from national charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) within just a few months of launching the campaign.
Eco-group Turn Lyme Green first put forward the suggestion of Lyme Regis becoming ‘plastic free’ at the beginning of 2018, winning support from the town council and setting up a Lyme Regis Plastic Free steering group.
The group announced this morning (Thursday) that it was delighted to have already received the Plastic Free Communities award from SAS, having followed the charity’s guidelines to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in the town.
Grenville Barr, chairman of the Plastic Free Lyme Regis steering group said: “This project was about changing the way we think about plastic and raising awareness so that we make our sea and environment better for our future.
“It’s fantastic to achieve the award, we got a great team together and received incredible support; businesses, organisations, residents and visitors have all pulled together to make this happen.”
Specific criteria had to be met to achieve the award, to both educate the community and take action of the amount of plastic waste it produced. This had to involve a number of local businesses and community groups, using the theme ‘Reuse, Refuse, Recycle and Refill’.
Businesses stepped up from the start with many cafés and restaurants agreeing to refill water bottles for anyone who asked, whether they were a customer or not. Others reduced their single use plastic or removed some items completely.
Cafés and restaurants also shared knowledge of alternatives to plastic and clubbed together for stronger buying power, while Turn Lyme Green invited Dorset Waste Partnership to host an evening discussion to understand how local waste disposal and recycling worked.
The Plastic Free campaign group also ran stalls at local fetes to spread the word and held recycling games for youngsters, such as the Sand Challenge – looking for plastics and sea shells in trays of sand and deciding what to do with them.
Two screenings of the film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ were held to show how plastic is affecting our whole world and the animals that live in it, and recently Eva Fahle-Clouts exhibited her artwork inspired by plastic waste in water at the Jubilee Pavilion on Marine Parade.
Lyme Regis Town Council supported the project from the start and gave a grant to help promote the work. Councillors congratulated all those involved in the campaign on hearing news of the award at Wednesday night’s meeting.
Lyme Bay Holidays also donated funds and gave its support to promote reducing the amount of single use plastic and informing its visitors how they could help.
Award is ‘only the start’
Despite having already achieved the award, the Plastic Free Lyme Regis group does not intend to give up its campaign yet.
Mr Barr added: “The award is only the start of this campaign, our team is dedicated to continuing this work. Each contribution an individual or business makes, however small, is a step in protecting and preserving our environment. The reduction or removal of single use plastic helps achieve this.”
Lyme Regis continues to host regular beach cleans and Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival Week in August will include an art project for young people to educate them about plastic waste.
Speaking at this week’s meeting, town councillor Richard Doney said he would bring a report to council outlining how they planned to sustain the campaign.
Anyone interested in helping Lyme Regis become ‘plastic free’ should email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive updates and invitations, visit the new Plastic Free Lyme Regis website at www.plasticfreelyme.uk, which highlights things people can do to easily help reduce the amount of plastic we use. It also gives details on events and activities for all the family, visitors and businesses.