Plastic Free Snowdonia
“Fantastic – Less Plastic”
This is the response I got from John Harold, Director of the Snowdonia Society when I contacted him about our new campaign.
#PlasticFreeSnowdonia is a campaign which will bring together businesses that would like to see less plastic used (and therefore discarded) in one of the most beautiful areas of the UK. It will help raise awareness of the simplest ways businesses and business owners can reduce their single-use plastic usage and celebrate those organisations already working hard to achieve this.
The campaign came about when myself (Tracey), Rachel Jones from A470 Training and Janet Matthews from Women Working Together realised that this was something we are all passionate about and not enough was being done locally.
Who are we?
We are not experts in plastic or recycling.
We are women/wives/mums who know that we all NEED to do our little bit and that every little change we make CAN make a difference.
We are business owners who know that we have a responsibility to protect the area we live and work.
We are believers… that by collaborating on something that we are all passionate about will mean we can make a combined difference and do so much more than ‘our little bit’.
In our families we have all made changes to reduce our plastic usage. As an outdoor events company we made Snowdonia Challenge single-use plastic free in 2017 . But we want to do more in our own businesses and be able to help others do the same. Between us with my outdoor and events focus, Rachel’s experience in hospitality and catering and Janet’s work with small and micro businesses we can reach a huge number of the type of businesses which makes up the majority of those within the national park.
On Thursday 18th January 2018 I had the pleasure of introducing the campaign to a packed and vibrant room full of local businesses at the launch of the Llanberis meeting of Women Working Together at the Padarn Hotel.
Here are a few of my favourite bits..
What is single-use plastic and why should we stop using it?
Of the top 10 items found on our beaches 6 of them were single-use plastic. These items take hundreds, even thousands of years to biodegrade and many of them end up on our shores, killing our oceans, marine life and birds.
A plastic bottle can last for 450 years.
The concern over plastic has been around for a few years now, but then Blue Planet 2 highlighted the issue with images like these; and the national treasure that is David Attenborough bought it to our attention.
Blue Planet 2 bought the problems plastic is causing to our oceans to the forefront of our minds and made it impossible to ignore…
Does that mean it’s going to get worse?
How much of our plastic actually gets recycled? According to this article in The Guardian only a third of the UK’s plastic waste gets recycled!
Surely it would be better not to use it in the first place?!
The government has released a 25 year environment plan.
But how do we avoid plastic? It’s EVERYWHERE!
Plastic IS everywhere! From plastic wrapped vegetables in the supermarket to the microfibres in our clothes. From teabags to cigarette butts (yes, both of these were a surprise to me too!).
6 things you can do right now!
Stop drinking bottled water and buy a refillable water bottle
Stop using straws, or buy paper ones
Buy a reusable coffee cup for your takeout coffee
Get a reusable shopping bag, or if you have yours delivered ask for it to be delivered with no bags
Don’t use plastic cutlery (get a spork!)
Buy a bamboo toothbrush!
If you’re ready for the next step then there are loads of fantastic resources online to help you make the first simple steps or the great big leaps into ‘plastic-free’ existence and some fantastic organisations doing some great work.
Some of my personal favourites :
Plastic in Snowdonia
One skip is filled EVERY DAY at Pen y Pass car park in the summer. Main types of litter are plastic bottles, dog poo (probably in plastic bags), crisp wrappers (and banana skins).
Snowdon volunteer wardens collected 375 bags of litter just off Snowdon in 2016 (Snowdon Partnership Plan). That’s just the ‘official’ ones! Every day someone who spends time on the mountains and cares about them will get back to their car with a bag full of other peoples litter. Every time we go out into the hills we pick up something.. usually plastic bottles or crisp wrappers (and banana skins!).
What can be done?
Every day now we see stories of organisations making changes to their policies on packaging which is great. Towns, villages and even countries are banning things like plastic straws and cotton buds. Villages like Aberporth are aiming to be the first single-use plastic free village in Wales.
Can we be the first national park in the UK to achieve ‘0’ single-use plastic waste? By working together we think we can. It might be one town or village at a time. One business at a time. #PlasticFreeSnowdonia is something everyone who cares about the national park should be a part of!
We are very excited about developing #PlasticFreeSnowdonia over the next few weeks. To keep updated please join our facebook group.