Article and images by Jonathan White
Plastic isn’t fantastic for the planet.
Over one hundred people attended a ‘Plastic Free Nantwich’ campaign group launch meeting at The Leopard pub, London Road in Nantwich on the evening of Wednesday 20th March 2019.
The group was set up by local environmental campaigner Jeremy Herbert and RSPCA Stapeley Grange education officer Emilie Janman, who both spoke at the event.
Plastic Free Nantwich is a grassroots people’s campaign to encourage sustainable and safe alternatives to plastics in everyday life.
They aim to tackle the rising tide of plastic pollution in the oceans, soils and the air.
Jeremy led the evening and gave the background of his involvement in ecological issues – particularly in his home town of Nantwich.
He has also liaised with grassroots environmental network ‘Friends of the Earth’ to get drastic on plastic to change the world for good.
Emilie spoke about her turning point against the use of plastics when a seal was brought to RSPCA Stapeley Grange with a plastic frisbee embedded in its neck.
As the seal had grown the frisbee had become more and more embedded in its neck, so that it had restricted the seals eating and drinking.
She has also liaised with marine conservation and campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage and is Nantwich’s lead on the Plastic Free Communities initiative.
Dr Sharon George
Guest speaker and nationally-renowned expert on plastic pollution, Dr Sharon George from Keele University gave an impassioned and informative talk about the effect of plastic waste on the environment.
The discussion included the longevity and mobility of plastics, the different hazards created by macro and micro plastic waste and the necessity for all of us to re-think our use of this amazing resource but in ways that are sustainable and non-harmful to our environment.
The UK uses a staggering 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles every day, of which fewer than 60% are currently recycled.
Only 1% of the 2.5 billion coffee cups used in the UK each year are recycled.
Used for just 20 minutes, once discarded a straw can last in the environment for hundreds of years.
Plastic bags fragment in 100-300 years depending on thickness and size, but will remain at large in the environment indefinitely.
Millions of toothbrushes are discarded every year in order to preserve our dental health.
Nearly 24 cotton bud sticks are found for every 100m of UK coastline – these are incorrectly disposed of down the toilet and can last over 150 years in the environment.
Single-use plastic utensils are often not recycled due to contamination with food and cost of recycling per unit.
What can we do?
Going plastic-free is not easy but reducing your plastic use is.
Experts suggest concentrating on the big four – coffee cups, plastic bags, straws and plastic drinks bottles – then building from there.
Use a refillable water bottle; take a reusable coffee cup and refuse single-use take away cups; refuse single-use packaging; resist a straw; refuse a single-use plastic bag and take your own; take your own cutlery or use sustainable alternatives; avoid single-use plastics in the bathroom; and refuse single-use condiment sachets.
For further information relating to Plastic Free Nantwich, please search Plastic Free Nantwich on Facebook and Instagram, or email: [email protected].