Turn Lyme Green members attend plastic free awards ceremony

TWO representatives from Turn Lyme Green’s Plastic Free Lyme Regis were invited to attend the world’s first Plastic Free Awards held by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage and the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation.

The awards highlighted those who have made a huge impact on the plastic-free movement, with the help of hundreds of public nominations. We’d been shortlisted for the Plastic Free Communities award and although we didn’t win, pipped by Plastic Free Penzance, it was such an honour to be there.

The awards were designed to recognise and celebrate the groundswell of community awareness and action on the issue of plastic pollution over the last two years.

Award winners included Lewis Pugh, United Nations Patron of the Oceans; youth campaigners Ella and Caitlin McEwan, who successfully petitioned for the removal of plastic toys from fast food kids’ meals; and Sir David Attenborough for his services to Planet Ocean, influencing the world to take action on plastic pollution.

It was a wonderful evening and we were able to share information, swap tips and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals and companies that are really getting to grips on what needs to be done.

We also realised just how well Lyme Regis has done. We were the 23rd Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community to try and tackle removing single use plastic; there are over 600 communities now and growing.

We had the support of our town council from the start, and by facilitating various initiatives we’ve pretty much removed polystyrene takeaway cartons, plastic straws and have increased our compostable coffee cups or introduced refill cups in Lyme Regis and Uplyme.

We’re eliminating plastic bags from our shopping cycle, helped by the new Boomerang Bag scheme (see below). We’ve introduced a wider awareness of environmental issues that need to be addressed for us to reduce climate change, clean up our seas and countryside and help our planet to survive.

Schools, shops and businesses have signed up to learn more and participate and everyone in our community has started to make changes by learning more and making a contribution by reducing their plastic use. Sharing what we’ve learnt and done has helped five other communities start their own schemes.

Broadcaster and Plastic Free Awards judge Gillian Burke said: “The tide is slowly turning in the fight against plastic pollution and now, more than ever, we need to be empowered to help kick our single-use plastic habit.

“Celebrating the heroic efforts of campaigners, volunteers and communities who have stepped up to the challenge is one way to inspire us all into being the change we’d like to see. Massive congratulations to award winners!”

We didn’t win, this time, however Lyme Regis you not only took part, but you have started to make a real difference and you should be very proud of yourselves, a very big thank you from us all!

Karen Durham-Diggins,
Plastic Free Lyme Regis

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