Moretonhampstead Action on Plastics (MAPs) is celebrating, having recently been officially recognised as one of 709 communities in the UK who are working locally to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic.
This process has involved talking to local businesses and community groups about the alternatives to plastic, as well as building awareness within the town of its polluting effects on our environment, and in the processes involved in production and disposal.
Hilary Mathieu (co-chair) is a founder member of the group and one of many who are concerned about the overwhelming amount of plastic that is used and immediately thrown away. “We have had a fantastic response from local traders and organisations who have made changes to the products they sell and use. It is heartening to see so many businesses, groups and societies come on board and pledge to source plastic-free alternatives. Our parish council has endorsed our campaign and Cllr Penny Simpson is our parish council representative on our steering group.
‘Moretonhampstead Development Trust has been supportive from the start; in fact I think that almost everyone sees the benefits in reducing single-use plastic in our lives.”
Liz Prince (secretary) has organised a number of work parties to tackle plastics in the environment: “We are lucky to have so many volunteers who cheerfully turn up for litter picks. Our most recent ongoing project is to remove plastic tree guards from the maturing hedgebank along the Wray Valley Trail. This work party was organised jointly with local group Trees in Time.
‘We were blessed with a sunny day and, although a little prickly at times, it was a pleasure to free the trees from their disintegrating plastic coils!” The job will hopefully be completed in a few weeks’ time as we are organising a second assault on the plastic guards.
‘Now we are saying ‘thank you’ to all those who have pledged their support and who have given so much thought to ways that they can avoid plastic packaging and reduce single use plastics in their day to day routine. On Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th November we made socially distanced visits to our supporters and presented them with a small plaque of thanks and recognition.”
The plaques, wooden not plastic of course! have been provided by the UK charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). Moretonhampstead has worked in partnership with the charity to achieve ‘Plastic Free’ status with the aim of freeing the seas and the land of harmful plastics and to change the systems that encourage their use.