Individuals, businesses and officials across Cornwall are getting together to “act as the forefront of this revolution – innovative, resourceful and trailblazing in our approach.”
A meeting of county-wide representatives has been held to discuss moving forward to tackle plastic in Cornwall. Led by Kirstie Edwards of Plastic Free Falmouth, this was the first meeting of groups, individuals and officials with the aim of getting ‘boots on the ground’ to tackle the issue, which according to Ms. Edwards, is “very much in the public consciousness and there is a lot of discussion going on between the big players as to the solution”.
The goal of the meeting was to ‘humanise’ the work of the people in Cornwall and give them a chance to speak to their elected officials or outline the help they need to move forward.
There were 30 individuals in the room, representing the whole of Cornwall, including organisations such as: Beach Guardian, Cormac, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Final Straw and MPs including Sarah Newton and Scott Mann.
The Cornwall Plastic Pollution Coalition (CPPC) put together a group of statistics which they presented at the meeting. These showed the 48,066 total volunteer hours in 2018, made up of 8,439 members which equated to the worth of £376,356 (based on National Minimum Wage.)
Credit was given to the number of small businesses in Cornwall who are doing their bit and finding ways to recycle and up-cycle. These included Rob Thompson at Odyssey Innovation who has been up-cycling marine litter to make kayaks, and Dan Edwards of Plastic Oceanic who is making jewellery out of packaging including recycled crisp packets.
Topics of the discussion in the meeting included: recycling, waste management, marine litter, ghost gear and taxation.
Perhaps the most exciting topic of discussion was that of work by Steve Double who, along with many local councils, raised the issue of balloon releases and pledged to ban them. On 14th February, their lobbying and scientific data collection (thanks to the CPPC) paid off when the pledge was carried out. A spokesperson for Plastic Free Falmouth showed their enthusiasm at the win adding that “within a week, a direct action as a consequence of this meeting of Cornish volunteers is seriously impressive”.
Following this success, a regular meeting has been agreed ‘with the view to helping create a Cornish plastic manifesto of sorts to guide legislation’, with the next scheduled for May.
The press release also stated: “The vision going forward, is to ensure we all work together to tackle this problem as a unified Cornish group… that is a real opportunity to pool that work and expertise, to achieve something really quite powerful in Cornwall.”