Woman calls on Sidmouth eateries to end use of disposable plastics

Litter from Denise Bickley's cleanup of Woolbrook

Litter from Denise Bickley's cleanup of Woolbrook - Credit: Archant

A ‘keyboard warrior’ inspired to do two-minute clean ups of her neighbourhood is calling on eateries to help cut the use of excessive packaging.

Denise Bickley launched a petition year to get plastic film removed from food packaging that got 8,000 signatures and regularly urges eateries to rethink their use of disposable cups and cutlery.

She has recently spotted her first ‘nurdles’ on Sidmouth beach – tiny pieces of plastic that mix into the shingle – and said people need to act ‘before plastic completely overwhelms us’.

“Plastic has long been a cause of concern for me, but it is only very recently with the #2minutebeachclean initiative that I have become more obsessed with it,” said Denise.

“I hope to pass on some of my passion because I think our beautiful town, our planet and future generations deserve better.

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“As well as being a ‘keyboard warrior’ and signing every petition I can, and writing to companies highlighting excessive packaging – such as individual bananas and oranges in plastic boxes – I also regularly do my own two-minute clean ups and take a bag and gloves with me when I go for a walk anywhere.

“A walk around Woolbrook often fills two bags of rubbish, which I then take back and recycle where possible.”

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She said if someone drops litter, it will either be binned or less likely recycled, or it could find its way into the sea, get eaten by marine wildlife and enter the food chain.

Or, she said: “It will be snagged under a bush and stay there, releasing its harmful chemicals very slowly into the environment, causing damage for future generations. Synthetic plastic does not degrade – a plastic bottle could be around for hundreds if not thousands of years.”

Denise’s seven tips to help the planet:

1. Don’t buy single use plastic bottles of water or fizzy drinks.

2. Don’t ask for a straw when you have a drink - they have an average life of 20 minutes use, followed by hundreds of years on the planet - or take a plastic spoon to stir tea etc.

3. Recycle wherever possible.

4. Pick up rubbish where you see it, put it in the nearest bin or recycling point, and join a local beach clean.

5. Talk to your children and teenagers about the importance of reducing and recycling, and not dropping their rubbish

6. Sign a pledge such as #LeaveItOnTheShelf which is trying to get one million women to pledge to avoid buying fruit and vegetables which is sold in excessive packaging – supermarkets will listen if we all stop buying overly packaged products.

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