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Plastic Free Holidays in Cornwall

Ever since Blue Planet hit our screens in 2017, the fight against plastic pollution has grown in intensity. Shortly after it was aired, plastic bags, straws and cotton buds, which once plagued our coastline, were banned from mainstream usage and a new wave of conscious consumerism is helping to turn the tide on plastic pollution and reduce our consumption of unnecessary plastics.

Holidays shouldn’t be an excuse to let standards slip. In fact, if anything, we should intensify our efforts whilst we’re away — reports suggest that consumption of plastics increases by up to 40% during the peak holiday periods as we buy more plastic-wrapped food on the go, splash out on pre-holiday items, such as beach toys and clothing (the majority of which is made from polyester and nylon), and send more waste to landfill rather than find out about local recycling systems. So, to help you out, here are a few ideas and initiatives to help you use less single-use plastic on your trip to Cornwall.

Plastic free shopping

There are almost 20 refill shops, and dozens of farm shops, farmers’ markets, and milk and wine refill stations across Cornwall, making it easier than ever to avoid buying plastic-wrapped food. Buying local also means minimal food miles, and helps ensure more money gets back into the pockets of farmers, fishermen, and all the other hard working food producers in Cornwall

We have created a Shop Local Guide, a region by region guide to farm shops, farmers’ markets, delis, fishmongers and speciality food shops throughout Cornwall to help you support local producers here in Cornwall.

Bodyboards on Beach Plastic Free Cornwall

Ditch the polystyrene

Every summer, up to 20,000 bodyboards are abandoned on Cornwall’s beaches. These cheap and not-so-cheerful staples of seaside fun are having a detrimental impact on the environment and wildlife, the discarded boards often breaking down and entering our oceans. Some holiday home provide free beach toys for guests’ use so check with us first before buying new boards but, if you do, avoid polystyrene if possible!

Dick Pearce & Friends are offering FREE bellyboard hire at various spots along Cornwall’s coast including Port Isaac, Newquay, Mawgan Porth, St Ives and Poldhu!

Pack your reusables

When you’re packing, don’t forget to take your essential resuables with you, including shopping bags, water bottles, coffee cups and thermos flasks. It’s also worth packing a few reusable tupperware containers (just in case your holiday home doesn’t supply them) so you can prepare picnics at home and avoid shop bought, plastic-wrapped takeaway food.

Every day in the UK, 16 million plastic bottles are sent to landfill or enter the environment. Top up your reusable bottle on the go with the handy Refill app, which locates dozens of water refill stations around Cornwall.

Beach cleans

With over 250 miles of coastline, Cornwall has more beaches than any other county — over 330 in total — and with five million people visiting its beaches on holiday each year, plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental issues facing the county.

One of the best ways to help keep Cornwall plastic free is getting involved in a beach clean. There are several ways of doing this, either joining a beach clean with organisations like the National Trust, the Marine Conservation Society or Surfers Against Sewage, who organise regular beach cleaning events, or creating your own beach clean — Surfers Against Sewage have a beach cleaning step-by-step guide to get you started.



Plastic Free Communities

Plastic Free Communities is a network of communities in the UK tackling single-use plastic, organised by Surfers Against Sewage. They have created hundreds of Plastic Free Communities throughout the UK, with dozens of groups in Cornwall having been awarded plastic free community status. The communities organise regular local beach cleans in various locations, including Falmouth, Newquay, Penzance, Padstow and Fowey. It’s worth looking on their individual Facebook pages to see what they’re doing and when the next beach clean event is happening.

Find your local Plastic Free Community in Cornwall and find out ways to help.

Holiday wardrobe

It’s estimated that 132 million pieces of holiday clothing — the majority of which are made of nylon and polyester — are bought each year and go unworn (85% of which then ends up in landfill or incinerators). The fast fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than the aviation and shipping industries combined. Washing alone causes 500,000 tons of microplastics to enter the oceans each year, equivalent to 50 BILLION plastic bottles.

We spend more on pre-holiday purchases than we do when we actually get to our destination. Next time you’re planning your holiday, ask yourself if you really need that piece of clothing. Chances are you may never wear it!