What is Earth Day? Well, it’s a worldwide annual event to show support for environmental protection that started in 1970 – and it’s taking place this Sunday. Going green is the theme, but this year the focus is tightly on encouraging people to reduce their plastic consumption.
Plastic has been a big topic for 2018. It’s even overtaken Brexit as a current worry, as reported by The Grocer. Brands are starting to state their commitments to this drive for change, dubbed the David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet Effect’. The BBC announced plans to end the use of single use plastics across its operations by 2020. Earlier this month, Waitrose announced its promise to remove all disposable takeaway cups from shops this year, to help reduce the 50+ million cups being thrown away annually.
Being surrounded by the ocean on three sides, Cornwall is well voiced on the topic of plastic waste, with reducing marine litter high on the county’s agenda. Hugo Tagholm, chef exec of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), has appeared twice on The One Show already this year. Earlier this week, he spoke about SAS’s powerful Plastic Free Communities campaign, a leading example of the UK’s war on waste, pledging to establish 125 of these communities by 2020. We took part in the SAS ‘Big Spring Beach Clean’ set up by the charity this month, which was the biggest yet with over 35k volunteers.
The Final Straw is another example of a drive for change in the county, encouraging businesses in Cornwall to help rid the use of single use plastic straws. As the Telegraph reports, they take 200 years to break down but as they are not biodegradable, they will remain in the environment for thousands of years. In the Spring statement, the Government announced it will be holding a consultation on plastic litter.
It’s reported that a billion people are expected to celebrate Earth Day this year. So why not be one of them and head to the Earth Day website where you can work out how much plastic you are consuming – and you can download a toolkit to learn more and track your progress of change.
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Words: Maddi Tiscoe