Tackling Ocean Plastics

Tackling Ocean Plastics

Cornwall Wildlife Trust acts as a champion for Cornwall’s wildlife, engaging people and communities with their local wildlife and inspiring them to support the Trust and Cornwall’s environment. One key issue currently hitting the headlines and impacting our Living Seas is the growing and potentially devastating problem of plastic in our marine environment, polluting our waterways and oceans and causing irreparable harm to our special wildlife.

To help tackle this issue, Cornwall Wildlife Trust is playing a key role in several county level projects, from ReFILL Cornwall to Cornwall Plastic Pollution Coalition (CPPC). We also continue to support our partner organisations to campaign at both a local and national level on the problems associated with marine litter and trying to find solutions.

Your Shore Network

We are very lucky in Cornwall to have an incredible network of Local Marine Conservation Groups that are supported by Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Your Shore Beach Rangers Project. All of these community groups are made up entirely of volunteers who work together to monitor their area of sea and shore and are the first response to changes or concerns in their local marine environment. This Your Shore network is a powerful voice and support for our marine environment, educating people on the issues of plastic pollution through public events and carrying out local beach cleans throughout the year.

This heart was made during a Clean and Create Day with Budehaven secondary school and the Bude Cleaner Seas Project. It was the inspiration behind Cornwall’s First Love Your Beach Day which was organised by the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project on Valentine’s Day 2018.

Holywell Love Your Beach Day 2019 by Chris Betty

Holywell Bay Love Your Beach Day by Chris Betty

The Cornwall Plastic Pollution Coalition (CPPC)

CPPC is a highly respected and powerful voice for our marine environment. It was formed from a sub-group of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Your Shore Network following a workshop on marine plastic and litter held at the annual Your Shore Conference in February 2016. It is now a group of more than 30 environmental organisations, local marine conservation groups, beach cleaning groups and marine science experts, collectively representing tens of thousands of people in Cornwall and beyond. It aims are;
• to raise awareness of the issue of marine litter and plastic pollution around our coastline by working with community groups, interested schools, and other organisations who wish to engage with the CPPC;
• to informally improve information exchange and coordination between organisations and volunteers involved in marine litter and plastic pollution in Cornwall;
• specifically highlight the issue of balloon debris in Cornwall;
• to raise the issue of marine litter and plastic pollution with identified businesses and organisations and try to persuade them to change their practices to more environmentally friendly methods / products.

ReFILL Cornwall

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is working with BeachCare and Clean Cornwall taking the battle against plastic waste to the next level with ReFILL Cornwall, a countywide free water refill campaign. The partnership has come together to reduce our plastic pollution and litter levels by calling on people to make just one simple change – to choose tap water instead of buying plastic bottled water both at home and out and about. Businesses are encouraged to become a ReFILL Cornwall location by displaying a sticker in their window, joining the ReFILL app, and encouraging other businesses local to them to get involved. Cafes, bars, restaurants, hostels, anyone – if you have a tap and would like to show your support to the campaign and to those people who are making a positive choice away from single use plastic, please get in touch with Cornwall Wildlife Trust or check out www.refill.org.uk or search Facebook for ReFILL Cornwall.

Clean Cornwall Initiative

Cornwall Wildlife Trust are an active member of the Clean Cornwall partnership group, a partnership of voluntary organisations, Cornwall Council, local businesses and the people of Cornwall who share one common goal - to keep our county litter free. A key priority for this group is to reducing the demand for, and consumption, of single-use plastic in Cornwall. There will be a new campaign calling for people to stop using single-use plastic water bottles within the next few years, so watch this space and please join us to do your bit.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust are excited to share the trailer for the up and coming film COALESCE which highlights the beauty and fragility of the ocean and Cornish coastline. The film talks about the threat of plastic pollution and explores the interventions taking place throughout Cornwall to educate and raise awareness. The film focuses on projects throughout Cornwall including the Trust’s very own Your Shore Beach Rangers!

COALESCE is directed and produced by Vinny Stelzer, Marine & Natural History Photography Student at Falmouth University.


Final Straw

Final Straw Cornwall is a volunteer led not-for-profit community group based in St Austell which aims to make Cornwall the first plastic straw free county in the UK and already has hundreds of hospitality businesses signed up as members in Cornwall. 

Plastic straws are one of the top ten plastic items found in the sea and yet these are almost totally unnecessary single use plastic items used for an average of only 20 seconds. In the UK it is estimated that we use 23 million straws daily and since plastic drinking straws cannot be recycled they have caused damage to ecosystems and wildlife both in the sea and out.

Final straw engages with the public, but its focus is targeting businesses who provide straws to their customers. If businesses use alternatives such as paper, or stop giving out plastic straws altogether, then the problem of plastic straws in the environment will be eradicated!

Straws are also called a ‘gateway plastic’ and by tackling local businesses about their plastic waste Final Straw Cornwall is able to open up the conversation about other forms of plastic waste; many of the businesses that have already signed up to us are looking at other areas where they can reduce their environmental impact.

Final Straw Cornwall works with many other local groups both on litter, beach cleaning, recycling and plastic and we welcome collaborative ideas!

We are working from one town to the next across the county and aim to get every single provider of plastic straws to change their behaviour!

Please go to www.finalstrawcornwall.co.uk for more information or to join, or follow us on Facebook @FinalStrawCornwall or Instagram @thefinalstrawcornwall or Twitter @FinalStrawCorn.

Beach heart by Budehaven School and Bude Cleaner Seas Project, by Clive Symm

Beach heart by Budehaven School and Bude Cleaner Seas Project, by Clive Symm


Cornwall’s dolphins and porpoises need your help

Our dolphins and porpoises face numerous threats, and unless we act now, they could be lost from our waters. A donation to our appeal could help us to stop their suffering and protect their presence in our Cornish seas. 

I want to help!