Plastic Free Steyning, Bramber and Beeding launch sees shoppers pledge to say no to single-use plastic

Supporters showing their pledge cards at the launch of Plastic Free Steyning, Bramber and Beeding
Supporters showing their pledge cards at the launch of Plastic Free Steyning, Bramber and Beeding

Shoppers were keen to sign up to say no to single-use plastic at the launch of Plastic Free Steyning, Bramber and Beeding.

People flocked to Steyning Farmers’ Market on Saturday to hear more about the challenge at a bumper event to spread awareness of the damage caused to the environment by discarded single-use plastic.

Ronnie Reed, who is co-ordinating events for the campaign, addressed the crowd and said it was up to us to act now, before it is too late.

She emphasised that abuse of plastic today is laying in store massive problems for future generations and threw down the plastic-free challenge, which was enthusiastically taken up by many shoppers throughout the morning.

All three parish councils have also pledged their support.

Simon Birnstingl, chairman at Upper Beeding, said: “Upper Beeding Parish Council has long had an environmental policy and we are happy to adopt and support this plastic-free campaign for the benefit of all our parishioners.”

The plastic free challenge involves eight behaviours that anyone can do:

• Always take a shopping bag to the shops and refuse single-use plastic bags

• Say no to plastic straws

• Use a lunch box, not disposable plastic sandwich bags

• Use a refillable water bottle and refuse to buy bottled water

• Buy a reusable coffee cup and refuse to use a single-use plastic one

• Avoid single-use packaging. Buy at a local butcher and fishmonger, and take your own box to put meat and fish in.

• When shopping for vegetables, think local, seasonal and loose

• Avoid ready-made meals with lots of packaging

The campaign was begun by local environmental group Steyning 10:10, in association with nationwide grassroots movement Surfers Against Sewage.

The aim is to enrol businesses, schools, churches, community groups and individuals to the cause of reducing our dependence on plastic.

The Rev Emma Graeme, rector of Beeding and Bramber with Botolphs, said: “In Upper Beeding and Bramber, we are looking at what we use plastic for and are conscious of our responsibility to maintain God’s creation and ensure we leave a clean environment for our children and grandchildren.

“To this end, we are currently looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint and live a truly sustainable life.”

Residents have already seen many local businesses forsaking single-use plastic bags in favour of paper or other materials.

Steyning Butchers now wraps meat in hygienic paper bags, Steyning Bookshop stopped using plastic bags five years ago, Truffles the bakers has gone plastic-free and no longer serves takeaway drinks in plastic cups, the Sussex Produce Company café has also gone plastic free and many more High Street shops are rising to the challenge of cutting out unnecessary plastic within their businesses.

The launch event also featured the Horsham District Refill scheme, aimed at helping reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles. The scheme enlists businesses willing to refill a bottle for free.

The libraries in Steyning and Henfield, and the Hub in Upper Beeding, are already signed up as refill stations, and more are joining the scheme every day.

Future events in the pipeline include litter-picks and a mass unwrap, where shoppers will remove all unnecessary plastic packaging from their purchases and leave them on display outside the shop for the day.

For more information, visit www.1010steyning.org/plastic-free-campaign or email 1010steyning@gmail.com