Words by Grace Donaghy

While Plastic Free July was a great month to begin a new sustainable journey in hope of harnessing long lasting habits, here are some inspiring examples of communities who have been working towards a plastic-free world all year round.

Youth plastic-pollution activist showing us how it’s done

“I am 7 years old and I’m picking up litter that adults and teenagers drop”.

7 year old Evie Whaley from Newquay, Cornwall was so shocked with the volumes of rubbish being left behind on her favourite beach that she decided to do something about it.

Evie has been cleaning up beaches ever since the first lockdown, and has since made waves amongst her Instagram followers, inspiring other young individuals along the way.
[Image credit: @evies_beach_cleans on Instagram]

Evie notes that she is motivated by her love for animals and “wanted to protect them from harmful litter” .

Evie cleans beaches up to 5 times a week, filling around 4-6 bin liners accumulated across a 500m stretch.

Evie stresses that ideally she shouldn’t be spending her time away from school in such a manner and pledges for people to change their ways:

‘Please stop bringing stuff to the beach if you are not going to take it home with you or throw it in the bin’.

Photos: @evies_beach_cleans

Western Australia, Perth, Coastal Clean Up Crew, Daisy Kermode/community action

The Coastal Clean Up Crew have been working hard to keep Perth beaches clean in Western Australia by removing rubbish off the shoreline and sand dunes every week.

Daisy Kermode, started the non-profit organization in 2017, and what started off as a one-woman job now witnesses around 50 likeminded helpers in attendance.

At the end of each clean up, members of the Coastal Clean Up Crew work together to separate the litter into those items that can be recycled and those that cannot.

In the short interview below, we spoke to Connor and Lukas, members of the Coastal Clean Up team, to find out exactly what their organisation is trying to achieve.

California based initiative

The Surf Rider Foundation are a California based initiative who are dedicated to the projection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean through reducing the impact of plastics in marine environments.

The organisation explain on their page that during the pandemic, the plastic industry have falsely claimed that single-use plastics are ‘safer than reusables’, but there is no evidence to actually support that reusables are not just as safe when properly sanitised.

But, whilst the problem may be complex, the solution is simple- we need to stop plastic at the source- and their “Ocean Friendly Restaurants re-open with Reusables” programme does just that.

To deal with the surge of Covid waste, the programme includes several ideas to reduce the distribution of single-use plastics in restaurants, including:

  • Menu’s stored underneath glass table tops to avoid replacing them OR, writing one single menu on a chalkboard
  • Silverware wrapped in napkins and not plastic as COVID-19 is shown to survive longer on plastic than paper so it’s a safer and more sustainable option.
  • Carboard takeaway boxes instead of polystyrene

“The idea of using something for one time that lasts forever just makes no sense”.

Surf Rider Foundation have since has 672 restaurants join the Ocean Friendly scheme, to attend one and ensure that you are protecting marine eco-systems… click here to find one near you.