Wow, who’d have thought that a single conversation earlier this summer could have resulted in such an exciting, rollercoaster ride of a campaign. So, here is a very quick rundown of what’s been happening with The Final Straw Cornwall…
The conversation between Pat Smith and myself was about the tide of plastic pollution that is threatening to destroy our beautiful Cornish coastline (and coastlines elsewhere, of course). We knew we wanted to make a difference, so we thought we’d start with straws. We were using them a lot in Cornwall, what with the thousands of pubs, cafés and restaurants we proudly promote. Straws add no real value to 99% of the population; instead, they cost time, effort and money to produce and put a heavy burden on the environment by taking over two hundred years to decompose. So, we started with straws with the aim of bringing the broader conversation of single-use plastic to the top of the agenda and guess what – it’s working!
Here’s what we have done so far.
We’ve spoken to some friends, gathering help and support along the way. The wonderful team at the Cornish Food Box Company have pitched in in lots of ways, including lending us their café for our launch event!
We contacted various foodie friends, including the brilliant James Strawbridge who became our ambassador and now tells our story everywhere he goes.
Our friends at Idenna have helped us out; building our website, running our social channels and grabbing images and material to push out to make sure the world knows what we are doing. There has been some brilliant coverage and conversations happening across Cornwall, the UK and around the world with TV, radio, print and online articles featuring in giant publications such as LadBible and Mashable.
Here is one of our favourite articles from Tegan Hedley
We are thrilled so many people are talking about our campaign, getting behind it and supporting it. So far, we have had over 80 businesses sign up! This is an amazing start, but that’s just it – there is masses more to do and this is just the start of it.
Let me give you a bit of context. The brilliant team at the Bowgie Inn (if you don’t already know it, you really need to go – it’s epic!) have committed to going straw free. Previously the Bowgie used around four cases or around 40,000 straws per year. Over 25 years, that would have been circa one million straws. Now, with 80 businesses already signed up and an average of 12 businesses signing up every week, you can see the impact we are already having.
We are really excited about 2018 and have some brilliant activity in the pipeline! Look out for our stand at Expowest (courtesy of the team at My Cornwall ), a project we’re working on in collaboration with Exeter University’s Green Consultants, a couple of digital campaigns lined up with some welcome corporate support and a growing army of supporters and volunteers that are ready to carve Cornwall into areas so as to campaign on the ground. All as we race toward making The Duchy the first plastic straw-free county in the country.
So, as we move towards 2018 let me leave you with a thought that very much inspired Pat and I at the beginning of this journey,
“I always wondered why nobody did anything about that, then I realised I am somebody.”