Plastic Free Chesterfield calls on the Chesterfield business and voluntary community to #BuildBackBetter
As lockdown eases and shops, restaurants and cafes start to plan their re-opening, Plastic Free Chesterfield is calling on both the business sector and voluntary sector to pledge to #BuildBackBetter.
A recent Surfers Against Sewage survey found that 63% of respondents want to decrease their personal consumption of plastic packaging and 60% want to use refillable containers more.
The main offenders
If you're part of a Chesterfield business or voluntary sector group, Plastic Free Chesterfield would love to hear from you on how you can #BuildBackBetter.
Plastic Free Chesterfield have just celebrated their first anniversary as a group, working together in the community to take action on single-use plastics, however the global coronavirus pandemic, has added to concerns around a furthering to the plastic pollution problem – the littering of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Plastic Free Chesterfield Community Lead, Greg Hewitt, said: “Whilst Plastic Free Chesterfield completely supports the need for equipment such as face coverings to keep us safe during these testing times, we, along with many other NGO’s and governments, are concerned about how these single-use face coverings and gloves are being disposed of – and what this means for our planet.”
It’s estimated that over a billion pieces of PPE have been distributed in the UK during the pandemic, and experts think this isn’t even close to being enough . And a study by the Polytechnic of Turin, believes another 1 billion masks and half a billion gloves per month will be needed .
Greg continued, “If just 1% of the masks and face coverings used are disposed of incorrectly and end up in the natural environment, this would result in as many as 10 million masks / face coverings a month polluting our precious oceans. That’s a shocking amount of pollution in addition to the 12 million tonnes of plastic that enters our oceans every year”.
The founder of the French Environmental Organisation, Opération Mer Propre (Operation Clean Sea) Laurent Lombard, has warned that there could soon be “more masks than jellyfish in the waters of the Mediterranean”.
Regarding face masks, medical-grade masks are commonly made from polypropylene, a very dense thermoplastic, which is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable, taking around 500 years to degrade. According to an analysis by scientists at University College London , if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, a whopping extra 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste would be created – weighing the equivalent of ten elephants!
Greg continued: “We want to make it clear that the Government has said that reusable face coverings are safe to use , as long as they are washed after each use.”
And on the issue of gloves, Plastic Free Chesterfield state that while latex gloves are incredibly important in clinical settings, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that regular hand washing is actually the best approach to take as gloves’ surface can get contaminated, just like bare hands can, and if you then touch your face you can get infected .
In terms of advice, Plastic Free Chesterfield recommend:
Plastic Free Chesterfield are mapping a list of Chesterfield cafés who are currently accepting or pledging to accept reusable coffee cups when ordering a takeaway hot drink. This is part of the #ContactlessCoffee campaign to help keep reusable coffee cups on the menu.
With the Government guidance currently saying “It is up to the individual business to decide whether they allow the use of reusable cups or containers during this period”, we want to support businesses in making the right decision.
Reusables CAN be used safely and accepting them doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact it can be super simple! To help, this guidance has been created: https://www.citytosea.org.uk/contactless-coffee
We need businesses to make reusables mainstream again, so that’s why we’re asking them to pledge to re-introduce reusables in time for Plastic Free July. And to use #ContactlessCoffee on social media so support and encouragement can be provided.
WE NEED YOUR HELP please to contact these cafés and ask if they are currently accepting or pledging to accept reusable coffee cups
CLICK HERE to view the cafés and current list
Contact us if you can help
Plastic Free Chesterfield have joined a new national campaign alongside Surfers Against Sewage calling for a stop to the #PostPandemicPollution. You may have seen some of the awful photos of beaches and parks being littered all over the country recently.
So as part of the campaign we are asking the community of Chesterfield to send us their photos of any litter that has been found in any of Chesterfield's parks and green spaces. If you see anything, please take a photo and send it to us. We will be happy to credit the photographer.
And if you decide to do a litter pick to clean up the mess, we would also love to see any before and after photos too.
We can't say much more right now but we will provide an update on this campaign shortly.
Since lockdown began, people are starting to appreciate the quieter roads, the clean air, the sounds of the birds, and appreciating nature more. And as the weeks pass, people's minds have started to think about how we can come out of this learning from the positive aspects of the lockdown so as to create a "new normal". And whilst people have been asked to stay at home, more people are starting to think about their own carbon and plastic footprint. A recent Surfers Against Sewage survey showed that plastic packaging is an area that want to address going forwards.
It is Plastic Free Chesterfield's aim to promote plastic-free living, and support people to do this. Therefore Plastic Free Chesterfield have produced an online directory listing products that can be found in Chesterfield that help people to reduce their own single-use plastic in the home, in the garden, and on-the-go.
The spreadsheet breaks products down into categories for easy-finds, and lists where to go to purchase them. Greg Hewitt, Plastic Free Chesterfield Community Lead said "Businesses are being hit hard by COVID-19 and need all the support they can get coming out of this crisis, so we have done exactly this. A way for people to support the fantastic local businesses who are promoting plastic-free living."
An online form also has been set up for people to submit other items they've come across in Chesterfield that help people reduce their single-use plastic. It is hoped the directory can be built upon so as to continuously provide a fantastic local resource that not only helps people, but also planet.
The spreadsheet can be accessed here
The form can be accessed here
One of Plastic Free Chesterfield's objectives is to support and promote businesses who have made swaps or changes away from single-use plastic. These businesses become Plastic Free Champions. Now we are in lockdown, some Champions have had to close, however others have remained open.
To continue supporting Champions, Plastic Free Chesterfield has produced a spreadsheet outlining the status of these businesses.
The spreadsheet can be accessed here