I’m Claire and I run the campaign Plastic Free Seaford. I started the campaign after having volunteered as a Regional Rep for the national charity ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ as I wanted to give the community of where I lived some fire in their bellies to protect our coastline!
Plastic Free Seaford is part of Surfers Against Sewage national campaign to create Plastic Free Communities within the UK. Surfers Against Sewage first created the ‘Wasteland’ campaign to create plastic free coastlines. Wasteland being a metaphor for the largest concentration of plastic in the ocean. Thanks to the success of likeminded people wanting to rid the oceans of plastic litter, they created the Plastic Free Communities campaign to take into account all of the inland communities that wanted to act. It’s not about removing all plastic from our lives. It’s about kicking our addiction to avoidable single-use plastic, and changing the system that produces it.
When did you start up?
I ran my first beach clean in October 2017. Then in March 2018 at a full council meeting, Seaford Town Council backed my vision for Seaford to become ‘plastic free’.
What is your ambition?
For Seaford to only have reusable coffee cups and for the message to get home that plastic is not fantastic when it’s single use.
How many of there are you?
It started with just me but in 2019 I was joined by my Co-Leads, local artist Caroline Bond and Fran Chorlton local resident with the same passion to protect the planet as me.
When do you meet?
We used to have monthly meetings but numbers dwindled sadly. For 2021 we had visions of holding 4 social picnics/coffee & cake mornings but as yet we can’t do either of them. We want to meet 4 times a year in each season to drive home the fact that we can all make changes throughout the year for example not buying glitter at Christmas, not taking throwaway plastic with your summer picnic, thinking about the waste that’s created at Halloween, that type of thing!
How can people get involved?
Come along to a beach clean! We really hope that we can start them up again in March but have to constantly keep a watch for Government Guidelines. May is our Big Spring Beach Clean, a really important date on our calendar as it’s when we take a Brand Audit, we look at what companies have created the waste in the first place like a crisp packet from Walkers (owned by PepsiCo) and then it feeds back into a national Surfers Against Sewage report point being we want the big companies to be more accountable for the destruction they are doing.
-what are your plans for 2021?
Our meet-ups are currently all on hold! But we will be running Wear Blue for Oceans Day on June 8th, Plastic Free July, promoting what Earth Over Shoot day in August and of course getting ready for Seaford Christmas Magic!
What have you achieved in 2020 considering the pandemic?
I am not sure what the campaign achieved per se but I think the community has changed its view of how worrying climate change and plastic pollution is. I don’t think anyone will forget just how disgusting beach goers were with all of the litter and debris they left on beaches and countryside across the UK after the first lockdown was lifted. We don’t want that again so I hope more people care in 2021.
What’s involved behind the scenes?
It’s a full-time job! I could definitely do with more help on the creative side in designing posters, flyers etc. I attend meetings with local groups, the council, running beach cleans I have to clean all equipment, I also curate all of the interesting plastic debris we find like a dolls leg from the 1950’s! It has taken over my life but that’s because I care so much about motivating and educating those who want to change in how to do so. I am a mother first and foremost so protecting my childrens’ future is on my mind every day.
Last year during lockdown I worked with the Town Council on a poster campaign. We ran this competition as a way to create Active Citizens with the young people in Seaford. Motivating young people to engage in environmental issues is key to motivating their behaviours as they grow older. These posters show they have an understanding and a voice to challenge bad behaviour.
We have Community Allies in the town, you can see one of our Supporter placards in Badger Inks, Seaford Health Store, Scoop and Weigh. It’s a chance for businesses to receive a FREE Audit of the waste they create in the form of single use plastic and how they can make changes. It’s a good way to get a conversation going about the topic and help businesses save money when they don’t buy single use items that immediately get thrown away or recycled.
I have also given a lot of Assemblies in local schools and am on hand to help Duke of Edinburgh students. I have given talks to local groups such as Rotary clubs, Women’s Institute. In return for a small donation for the campaign running costs