The Final Straw Cornwall

by Pat Smith in Truro, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 6th June 2018 we successfully raised £3,480 with 76 supporters in 28 days

Final Straw Cornwall aims to make our beautiful home free of single-use plastic straws in the next two years and we need your help!

by Pat Smith in Truro, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Thank you! Hugs all round as we have achieved our initial target and can now move forward with reaching even more people in Cornwall!

It’s all about starting a conversation about conservation…so additional funds will enable us to keep and extend the website as a knowledge hub for all the things plastic free in Cornwall

The need is there for this resource - we are constantly fielding questions about single use plastic and we recognise it is difficult in our current consumerist society to make a well-informed choice and decision about what is responsible environmentally. The knowledge hub is important to educate and help the public make their way through all the confusing mis-information out there to make a good decision.

Fancy attending events and seminars about plastic free living and sustainability? Then we would love to oblige if we meet our new stretch target! Final Straw On Tour! and do watch this space for a possible conference on plastics!

We also want to continue our work working with other plastic free initiatives and join forces to help make further positive changes in our community - we can see a massive sea change coming in the way that people deal waste so thank you for joining us on this journey!

With the new stretch target we will be able to recruit even more volunteers and produce more signage and PR materials for businesses that sign up so that we get ever closer to the goal of ridding Cornwall of single use plastic straws for good! 

With your help, we really will be singing songs of thanks across the Duchy.


Our Campaign

I am Pat Smith, owner of the award winning Bosinver Farm Holiday Cottages and a grandmother passionate about addressing the legacy of plastic waste that has occurred during my lifetime.

The film Plastic Ocean profoundly affected me and I couldn't just stand by and let it happen.

I could see for myself the problem at the beach - plastic is everywhere on our shoreline, especially straws. I expect you see it too?

So, I decided to reduce my own and my businesses reliance on single use plastic and to work out ways in which I might influence others to do the same.

With that in mind, myself and a team of other dedicated volunteers have set up The Final Straw Cornwall to try and reach everyone and ask them to give up single use plastic straws.


Why it matters

12 million tonnes of plastic is entering our oceans every year – that’s a rubbish truck full every minute.

The public world-wide have now become much more aware that our oceans are drowning in plastic. The impact of plastics on the planet was widely publicised by David Attenborough on Blue Planet and it has been in the news all around the world. So, now is the time to act!

Did you know that plastic straws are incredibly polluting and are now one of the top five items found on beaches worldwide? 

In the UK alone, according to Defra, we use 8.5 billion strawsper year.

Each straw is only used on average for 20 minutes but can take more than 200 years to break down into smaller pieces, and often does not fully disintegrate (as can be seen below)

c7e51929bf1d5a16c326b11515f10243486994e6In fact, every straw on the planet right now will outlive everyone reading these words.

Cornwall, with the sea on 3 sides, is particularly vulnerable to plastic pollution.

Action is needed now, immediately – not just words.

The Challenge

We are a hardcore team of unpaid volunteers, all with full time jobs but sharing the same vision - we believe passionately that Cornwall could and should be the first county in the UK to become plastic straw free!

Some of the key people who have given their time freely to the campaign so far include co-founder James Neale and his team from Idenna Creative, Matt Hocking and his team from Leap, Design for Change, Oliver Baines (previously CEO of Cornwall Community Foundation, and Tor and Lucy from the Cornish Food Box Company,  James Strawbridge of the Posh Pasty Co., Emma Sixton from Sam's in the City and Manda Brookman from Cafe Disruptif, Viki Carpenter and Emma Grigson from Gloss Media, Gemma Turner from Springer Marketing and Nichola Sherriff are doing the marketing and volunteer recruitment and my good friend Wendy Tubb is doing all the admin! 

The campaign has been incredibly successful since its launch 6 months ago – with over 500 businesses already pledging to no longer use plastic straws on our dedicated website.

But we have 4500 more businesses to reach to stop them giving out single use plastic straws and this is why we need your help.

So far any campaign expenses have been met by this small (but perfectly formed!) team out of their own pockets, but in order for the campaign to continue and meet its ultimate goal of ridding plastic straws from 5000 hospitality businesses in Cornwall we need urgent funding.94203edc3d91f59c892ac204c080af09f0b74c1a

The Impact

This simple ask has already opened people’s eyes and made them look at, and address, their use of other single-use plastics. If they can refuse a straw then that is a small easy step to take.

We feel that we are well on the way to making a big impact in Cornwall.

And that’s where you come in!  Please join us by saying no to single use plastic straws and pledging a small donation.

What you get

By pledging any amount, however small, you can contribute to all those little costs that add up and help us keep Cornwall's beaches beautiful.

Your money could pay for publicity materials, events to raise awareness and resources that our volunteers can use to communicate our mission to the people we are trying to reach.

Despite recent Government announcements, addressing plastic waste is not a done deal, it is an ongoing fight and every one of us can do something - our collective small steps add up to make a big difference.

You can be part of this exciting opportunity to showcase Cornwall as an exemplar of what can be done by passionate determined people who care about their environment.


We already have 500 businesses signed up and are now going to do a countdown for the other 4,500 businesses (the aim is to reach every straw using business in Cornwall). 

We also want to reach most of the 4m visitors to Cornwall and send them home with the message that single use plastics are going to go! Please help us persuade businesses and all those in Cornwall, whether visiting or living here to give up single use plastic straws.

With your help, Cornwall is going to be the first county in the UK to go plastic straw free!


Thank you!

Oh and by the way, you may notice that unlike most other Crowdfunder campaigns our rewards are virtual – you will be rewarded by the warm glow of knowing that you have made a positive contribution to our campaign and that you have helped protect our wonderful coastline.


More information

Please come and find out more about the Final Straw Cornwall on our social media channels - you'll see what we do and get the latest updates if you want them


Email [email protected]


Twitter: @TheFinalStrawCorn


Plus some recent media coverage from 

Cornwall Live

My Cornwall


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£10 or more

A Hug with Meaning!

If you could spare £10: We would give you a hug. Just a lovely, thanks for the coffee and lemon cake when I was broke today, appreciative hug. A Hug with Meaning.

£35 or more

You Rock, Thank You!

For £35: We give you a whole body feeling of Thank You. Because getting 30 of these £35 babies means we've bust our target and our extra bonus money is released. So - this is a You Rock Thank You. From over here, to you. We'll be loving you all damn day for this.

£50 or more

We love you for this!

If you can donate £50: Now we don't know what to say. This is getting us close to actually being in a position to do something about the plastic nightmare of straws. This is Changing Stuff On The Ground. This reward is us thinking about you all day in that sort of silent awe and appreciation you hold for someone that just did something utterly brilliant. Just know that. We love you for this.

£100 or more

Speechless Awe and Renewed Fortitude!

If you give us £100 - Actual reverential silence. Those of us who give a hundred quid to a brilliant cause are determined to see it happen. This means we will craft a special pedestal of Appreciation and Fellow/Sister Plastic Warrior in our hearts and glue you onto it. And then we'll look at it in speechless awe and renewed fortitude.

£250 or more

A Song of Thanks!

£250: We have lost all reason & written a song of thanks! We've all learned it off by heart, we sing it (out loud) on the Number 18 from Penzance and that bit of A30 over Bodmin Moor. You have no idea of the place you occupy in our plastic-fighting hearts, because we know without doubt that we have the winds of change with us and we're going to beat this plague of pestilential polymers. So we all get to have a better future. Boom.

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