If there’s one thing dominating our social media and television screens, it’s the devastating effect plastic is having on our environment. This year, it is becoming more imperative than ever that people abandon single-use plastics and strive to live a more waste free life. In Cornwall, one such mission is gaining nation-wide recognition.
The Final Straw Campaign aims to see Cornwall rid of its plastic straws, the small and silent plastic killer. Straws are totally non- biodegradable. They end up in landfills, dump sites and worst of all our oceans. On average a single straw is used for just twenty minutes before being discarded, it will then go on to outlive everyone on the planet.
The campaign began in 2017 when Pat Smith a holiday cottage owner in Cornwall, was both shocked and devastated by what was happening to our oceans with the amount of plastic waste and felt determined to do something about it,
“I own Bosiner Farm Cottages in St Austell,” she explains, “it’s an award winning and sustainable business. I’m a grandmother of four and am passionate about doing my best to look after the beautiful planet we live on. On Mother’s Day last March my son took me to see the ground breaking film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ with a Q&A afterwards by Jo Ruxton, one of the producers. The film highlights the devastating effects of plastic pollution on a massive scale. It had a profound effect on me and I felt I bore responsibility for the pollution which has occurred in my lifetime, I felt I had to do something about it.”
And do, she did. Pat teamed up with Idenna Creative Agency to bring The Final Straw campaing to life. The ultimate goal is to remove plastic straws from Cornish business’ and to make Cornwall an example to other regions around the UK. It’s a campaign that has raised awareness to the damage of single use plastic and hope to convince the people of Cornwall that this change, although small, will have a huge difference on our ecosystem.
“It’s a simple task,” Pat says, “please refuse plastic straws if offered and say why. Then suggest the business join our campaign. If straws are a must, carry your own bamboo or stainless steel reusable ones. We are suggesting business’ offer paper ones as an alternative.”
The campaign has already seen dozens of big Cornish name business’ pledge to ditch their plastic straws including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, The Hub at Portreath, The Headland Hotel, Bedruthan Hotel and The Lost Gardens of Heligan. For business’ like the Bowgie Inn who have also signed up, it means their usual order of roughly 40,000 straws for the year will now be straw free or using paper alternative. That’s 40,000 less single-use plastic items in our environment. For Pat, this signified an amazing start to the campaign, “We have been overwhelmed at the positivity this campaign has generated. So far all the business’ we have contacted have either switched to paper straws already or are in the process of doing so. Cornwall is a beautiful, pristine place with miles of coastline. Who would not want to take such a simple step towards keeping it that way to preserve it for future generations to enjoy?”
Keep an eye out for The Final Straw campaign across Cornwall, check them out online and on social media and expect to see them alongside myCornwall (proud supports of the campaign) at Expo West 2018 this March. And also, most importantly, do you want to talk part and give up single-use plastic straws this year as a first step to a better waste free life.