Celebrating One Year of Plastic-Free Me!
It’s our birthday! On 24th January 2017, two passionate oceanoholics decided to do something about the frustrating amount of plastic damaging our oceans and wildlife. From a simple Facebook page, Plastic-Free Me has grown into a network of dedicated volunteers, all dead-set on tackling the world’s plastic pollution problem. In just one year we have achieved so much - and there’s so much more to do! We are so grateful to all of the people who have joined our ranks this year, working tirelessly around their day jobs and busy lives for this one common goal. We are so excited to see Plastic-Free Me grow and all of the positivity that’s come from this past year, so let’s take a look at what we’ve been up to!
- Hattie & Suzie
Our first event! Challenging people to cut out plastics in their daily lives for the whole month of February. We received such positive responses and so many people shared with us their experiences; many people found that it is surprisingly easy to cut out so many disposable plastics and make sustainable changes for life! We're running the campaign again in just over one week... so get involved!
Burniston Bay Beach Clean
We travelled to the seaside town of Scarborough in the UK for our first organised beach clean. We had great support from a few of the locals, who put up our posters and helped spread the word. On the day, around 30 locals came to help us clean up Burniston Bay, and from this sparked a new “Clean Coast Warriors” initiative for the Scarborough coastline!
Stop Sucking Coasters
We received funding through the Leeds University Union Sustainability Fund to produce our custom-designed coasters. Designed by Harriet Lily Artwork, the coasters give information on the dangers of plastic straws and encourage people to stop sucking! Since then, these have been distributed in bars and pubs across Leeds, and further afield. We have also partnered with Thirsty's, manufacturers of sustainable beer mats, and the coasters can be ordered through their website for your local bars, cafes or events!.
Leeds University Union student forum
Sian Steel, MSc student at Leeds University and passionate ocean advocate joined our team as our University campaigns manager. She rallied at the Union’s student forum to switch all disposable plastics to a biodegradable alternative, and to ensure that the bars only give out straws on request in drinks. The motion was approved and this was a huge step in the right direction, sparking a movement in our work across other students’ unions.
Barn on the Farm Festival
Our first work with a UK festival, Barn on the Farm festival joined us to go plastic-free. By not selling plastic bottles or giving out single use plastic cups with their drinks, they provided taps to drinking water all over the site and served drinks in reusable tumblers on a deposit return scheme. They also only handed out straws on request (or with a Pimms!) and promoted awareness of ocean plastics to all festival-goers.
Things became serious! Our new website launch was such an important step for us, providing a central platform for all things Plastic-Free Me.
Plastic-Free Life Blog Series
We introduced our new blog series: Plastic-Free Life. Covering topics such as travel, student life, entertainment, beauty & hygiene and more - we have an ever-expanding range of passionate writers covering all aspects of plastic-free life!
Our #PFMXmas competition encouraged people to get creative with their wrapping; ditching the plastic wrapping paper for a more sustainable entries. We had such a great range of ideas; the winner using beautiful velvet and ribbon to wrap her pressies. We were also very grateful to Glitterlution for providing some biodegradable glitter as a prize for the competition. Well done to all who entered!
We welcomed yet another Campaign Coordinator, Faith Terry-Doyle is currently working with the University of Sussex to cut down on their single-use plastics and helping to grow our work with festivals and schools. With her in the team, Faith will help to spread the plastic-free message to the next generation!
Public Entertainment Outlets
We have started working with various theatres, museums and festivals across the UK to help them reduce their plastic usage and enable their customers to enjoy their facilities plastic-free. These are ongoing projects and we will have more updates on this very soon!
Stop Sucking photo campaign
We launched a #StopSucking photo campaign on our Social Media, encouraging people to take a photo with their last ever plastic straw or reusable alternative, and tell the world to stop sucking on plastic!
In short: we’ve had a busy year, and we’ve got lots more lined up! What’s next for the Plastic-Free Me team?
- Plastic-Free Feb 2018
- Talks at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre (London), Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums (London) and Interplay Theatre (Leeds)
- Further work with museums across Yorkshire
- Working with Sheffield Doc Fest to provide an alternative to bottled water for all festival goers
- Further outreach to schools across the UK
... and more!
We’re blown away by how much we’ve grown this year, are endlessly grateful to our wonderful team and we can’t wait for the year ahead. Bring on 2018!