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Plastic-free community

status given to Hornsea

    Exclusive by Andrea Kirk  

HORNSEA has been officially given plastic-free community status after almost a year of commitment by the plastic-free Hornsea group led by campaigner and resident Paul Parry.

It is the first town in East Yorkshire to have the status and joins a network of communities across the UK leading the way on tackling throw-away plastic.

Marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), awarded Hornsea the status in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.

Paul Parry, from Hornsea, started the campaign earlier this year after his passion for surfing and distress at plastic pollution on the beach saw him start weekly beach cleans and become a Surfers Against Sewage campaigner.

He wanted to take Hornsea a step further aiming for plastic-free accreditation. Registering with the SAS Plastic-Free Communities movement, Paul pulled together key organisations and businesses to put in place a fivepoint plan. The objectives include: setting up a community-led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic-Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.

“It’s not been an easy task and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster constantly thinking about our next move. I have a fantastic team and amazing support from the Hornsea community. It’s this community and team support that has gained Hornsea this accreditation, it’s well deserved and a massive boost for our town to be the first in East Yorkshire,” commented Paul.

Local events the plastic-free group has been involved in include three large community beach cleans, raising the profile of the group with a plastic-free raffle and speaking and engaging with the local schools.

Hornsea Town Council supported the initiative, whilst Hornsea Community Primary School pupils used plastic-free as their campaign for their Junior Award Scheme for Schools project. They attended beach cleans and learnt about the impact of single-use plastic on the environment and wrote to local businesses asking them to remove single-use plastic.

Funding was secured to rent a beach hut on the promenade which is open at weekends for the community to borrow litter pickers and during the week for prebooked community groups.

Plastic-Free Hornsea took a leap forward when Let’s Go Hornsea regeneration group applied for funding to help the campaign. It secured a grant  for litter pickers as well as water bottles for every pupil at Hornsea Community Primary School to reduce their singleuse plastic consumption. Further help has been received from the Tesco Community Team, Hornsea WI and Nick Middleton from the HEY Smile Foundation as well as Active Coast, the East Riding Foreshore team and East Riding of Yorkshire Council which constantly removes bags of collected rubbish for the group.

To achieve accreditation, the group needed local businesses’ support. The Beach Hut Café, Whiteheads fish and chip shop, Laser Products, The Marine pub, Café 10, Hornsea Floral Hall and Sullivan’s fish and chip shop have implemented a range of initiatives. They include swapping to stainless steel reusable straws, wooden instead of plastic takeaway cutlery and swapping from plastic sachets of sauces to traditional glass bottles.

Paul added: “It’s been my passion over the last year with many sleepless nights so to finally achieve the accreditation for Hornsea is overwhelming. Although we have achieved accreditation this is an ongoing journey to continue to reduce the use of single plastic, as of course the town isn’t completely plastic-free. Thank you so much to everyone who cares about our beautiful town and beaches and please keep supporting us and our marine life.”

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