Herts Ad Comment: Plastic waste fightback begins here

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STOCK Generic office - Credit: Archant

St Albans is leading the way in the fight against plastic waste thanks to a core of dedicated and imaginative campaigners intent on action to save our natural environment.

This week we have reported on Plastic Free St Albans, an initiative to encourage people to cut down on the amount of plastic they use in their everyday lives. This is off the back of the successful #refusethestraw campaign, led by Emma Tyers who is also involved in Plastic Free St Albans.

Plastic Free St Albans was announced ahead of Sustainable St Albans Week in April, a practical series of talks and workshops on how to reduce plastic waste run by local experts such as Friends of the Earth’s Amanda Yorwerth, environmentalist and diver Sandy Adams and entrepreneur Ruby Raut.

In addition, a Kimpton-born and Harpenden-educated web developer, Caroline Wilson, and her two companions Jess Rego and Susan Ronaldson have had the excellent idea of using their arduous 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic, planned for this December, to raise awareness of the effect plastic waste has on our oceans.

They are also donating all proceeds from the race to the Marine Conservation Society.

Our fantastic city centre pubs and restaurants have continued to do their bit for the good of the community by signing up to the Refill Beta app, which shows thirsty shoppers where they can find water fountains.

I’ve downloaded it and highly recommend you do so too.

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The problem of plastic waste is not a new one of course, and these campaigners and rowers are not the first people in the district to try and do something about it.

St Albans MP Anne Main has been banging on about the plastic waste and the threats it poses to our wildlife for years and ever since she became chair of a parliamentary committee on plastic waste, she has been badgering government ministers for their targets on recycling disposable coffee cups and assurances plastic waste exported from the UK is being used in an environmentally-friendly way.

District councillor Anthony Rowlands, as chair of the environment and sport scrutiny committee, has cast an unblinking eye over what the authority is doing to improve recycling, as well as the equally-important issue of air pollution.

You can see the effect this dogged campaigning is having by reading how St Albans district is on track to becoming one of the top 10 in the country for recycling thanks to residents, who also go out of their way to report on fly-tipping, an evil and selfish act which damages both the look and integrity of our countryside.

Having lived in the district for little over a year now, I have started to think more carefully about how I can use less plastic by buying unripe and unwrapped bananas rather than wrapped and ripe ones and avoiding throwing away empty drinking bottles.

So although the fire was lit by people like Emma, Caroline and Mrs Main, the flames are being tended by all of us.