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.
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)
In 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Twitter: www.twitter.com @TheFinalStrawCorn
Plus some recent media coverage from