Lyme Regis receives Plastic Free Communities award from Surfers Against Sewage

Environmental accolade after businesses and the community come together to reduce plastic waste in Lyme Regis

An ‘incredible’ team effort involving Lyme Regis’s businesses, town council, residents and visitors has achieved the Plastic Free Communities award from Surfers Against Sewage.

It has taken just six months for Turn Lyme Green (TLG), who promote sustainable living, to earn the award by meeting the marine conservation charity’s strict criteria.

The initiative had to include action to reduce plastic use and clean up local beaches, and education to promote the plastic-free message. It also had to involve the town council, businesses, and the local community.

Grenville Barr, chairman of TLG’s Plastic Free Steering Group, said: “We got a great team together and received incredible support.”

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The town council came on board from the start, with a grant to promote the work. Businesses were also quick to respond, with cafes and restaurants agreeing to refill water bottles for anyone, whether or not they were customers. Others reduced their single-use plastic or removed some items completely. The catering outlets also shared their knowledge of alternatives to plastic, and clubbed together to increase their buying power.

Lyme Bay Holidays was particularly supportive, donating money to the campaign and informing visitors about what they could do to help. TLG also arranged for the Dorset Waste Partnership to host an open discussion on how local waste disposal and recycling worked.

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The Plastic Free Group ran stalls at local fetes to spread the word, including recycling-themed games for children. The film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ was screened twice locally, and the artist Eva Fahle-Clouts exhibited her work inspired by plastic waste at the Jubilee Pavilion.

Mr Barr said: “This project was about changing the way we think about plastic, and raising awareness so that we make our sea and environment better for our future. It’s fantastic to receive this award. But this is only the start of this campaign. Our team are dedicated to continue this work. Each contribution an individual or business makes, however small, is a step in protecting and preserving our environment.”

Regular beach cleans continue and the campaign will be promoted at August’s carnival.

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