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Lyme achieves Plastic Free Communities award

LYME Regis has achieved the ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Award in recognition of its efforts to reduce single-use plastics in the town.

The award is given by national marine conservation and campaigning charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

The initiative in Lyme Regis has been driven by Turn Lyme Green (TLG), which set out at the start of 2018 to achieve the prestigious award and formed the Plastic Free Lyme Regis steering group.

To achieve the plastic-free status, the group had to demonstrate it had support from the local council, local businesses were working to reduce the amount of plastic they use, the community supported plastic-free living, that initiatives such as beach cleans were taking place to reduce waste in the environment, and there was ongoing support and events to promote the message.

Plastic Free steering group chairman Grenville 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 achieve the award, we got a great team together and received incredible support; businesses, organisations, residents and visitors have all pulled together to make this happen.”

Achieving the status has involved a range of local businesses and involved various groups of people, around the themes of reuse, refuse, recycle and refill.

Many cafes and restaurants in the town agreed to refill water bottles for anyone who asked, whether they were a customer or not, which others reduced their single-use plastic or removed some items completely. 

Cafes and restaurants have shared knowledge of alternatives to plastic and clubbed together for stronger buying power.

TLG also invited Dorset Waste Partnership to host an evening discussion to understand how local waste disposal and recycling worked.

The Plastic Free group ran stalls at local fetes to spread the word and included recycling games for youngsters.

The film ‘A Plastic Ocean' had two screenings to show how plastic is affecting our whole world and the animals that live in it, and recently Eva Fahle-Clouts exhibited her artwork inspired by plastic waste in water at the Jubilee Pavilion.

The town council supported the project from the start, providing a £1,500 grant to help promote the work and appointing Cllr Richard Doney to the steering group.

Lyme Bay Holidays also donated money and promoted the message by informing their guests of what they could do to help.

The newly-launched ‘Plastic Free Lyme’ website www.plasticfreelyme.uk highlights things people can do to help reduce the amount of plastic they use and includes details of events and activities.

Grenville said: “The award is only the start of this campaign, our team are dedicated to continuing this work. Each contribution an individual or business makes, however small, is a step in protecting and preserving our environment.

“The reduction or removal of single-use plastic helps achieve this.”

Lyme Regis continues with regular beach cleans and the Lyme Regis carnival in August will include an Art Project for young people.

Anyone interested in helping Lyme Regis become plastic Free should contact info@plasticfreelyme.uk  to receive updates and invitations, go to the Plastic Free Lyme Regis website, or like the Facebook page, plasticfreelymeregis.