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The Cornish Pirates aim to be Plastic Free Champions

Posted: February 12, 2019
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The Cornish Pirates aim to be Plastic Free Champions

Plastic Free Penzance is delighted to welcome the Cornish Pirates on board as its latest Community Ally, as the group continues work to reduce single-use throwaway plastic in the town.

The Championship rugby club first contacted Plastic Free Penzance last year to help with its Surfers Against Sewage ‘Big Spring Beach Clean’ in Mounts Bay, the team’s combined manpower proving handy in removing tonnes of fishing net which had been trapped in rocks near Marazion for months.

That first-hand experience of the marine plastic crisis led the club to want to do more, identifying there were steps it could take to tackle the amount of disposable plastic used at the ground and throughout the rest of the business.

After a site visit by Plastic Free Penzance the club is now embarking on a number of initiatives to reduce throwaway plastic, including taking action over the amount of single-use plastic cups given out on match days. Joining forces with Microcomms (who part sponsored this year’s successful Golowan beer cup), Roseworthy Farms and Hemingways, the Cornish Pirates are looking to launch their first re-useable cup, which fans can use week after week to reduce litter and the amount of plastic dished out by the club. The cups will be available from pre-season 2019/20.

Robin James, Cornish Pirates COO, said:

During my short time in Cornwall it is obvious how much Cornish people care about their environment and reducing single use plastic. The Cornish Pirates are a proactive club and have helped with many such initiatives in the past, and I’m sure our supporters will get behind us with this important first step, as they always do.

We look forward to our reusable cups becoming a firm favourite at the Mennaye and at the Stadium for Cornwall, helping in the process to alleviate single use plastic in Cornwall.

Dicky Evans, Owner of The Hemingways Collection, said:

Plastic waste is a global problem that we see, sadly, all too frequently on the beautiful tropical beaches in Kenya as well as the national parks. Ridding our hotels of all single use plastics is our aim for 2019 coupled with our continuing sponsorship of conservation efforts led by Watamu Marine Association and Naboisho Conservancy to promote responsible tourism in Kenya.

We are currently halfway through a two-year programme to ensure we finally have a sustainable policy – not just plastic water bottle & straws but right down to the shampoo bottles in bedrooms.’

Simon Murley, Managing Director of Microcomms, said:

We had fantastic feedback from the Golowan cup we launched for Mazey Day, so the opportunity to be involved with the Cornish Pirates, Plastic Free Penzance and Surfers Against Sewage for such an exciting project was a no brainer for Microcomms. This type of commitment by the Cornish Pirates underpins their commitment to create not only a successful and environmentally responsible rugby club, but also a strong and unique community presence with a positive legacy.

Lee Miles from Roseworthy Farms said:

This subject is such an important learning process for everyone to strive to understand. With just a little effort we can all respond positively and to help in a practical way, which is just what we are doing on several of our projects across Cornwall.

The Cornish Pirates have already removed straws and plastic stirrers as well as issued players with re-useable water bottles and coffee cups. It doesn’t stop there though, and bosses will be working through a number of other suggestions to cut throwaway plastic and support work to spread the plastic free message in the town and beyond.

Rachel Yates, Community Lead for Plastic Free Penzance said:

Having the Cornish Pirates join us is a massive boost and very encouraging in terms of spreading our plastic free message. We are really looking forward to working with the club on the amount of disposable plastic it uses, but also within the community. The players are huge role models and we’re excited that the club can now also be a role model for the rest of the sport.

Pirates’ COO, Robin James, added:

The Cornish Pirates are excited about this very important initiative, the players helped with beach cleans last spring pulling heavy nets out of the ocean and many of our players are surfers and sea lovers and care deeply about the waters that surround Cornwall.

It is over a year since Penzance was awarded Plastic Free Communities status by Surfers Against Sewage, the first town in the UK to do so. In that time volunteers have worked with over 70 businesses, the town’s schools, community groups and individuals to help them reduce the amount of disposable plastic they use.

There are now over 450 communities across the UK working on the same five-step plan from Surfers Against Sewage, with over 40 following in Penzance’s footsteps to achieve full accreditation. St Just and Marazion are among them; Hayle and St Ives are not too far behind, hoping to achieve their status in the coming months.

Penzance Community Lead, Rachel Yates, added:

It’s brilliant to see how people are taking a stand on this issue, using their power as consumers to help bring about the change we need to see. We need to see massive culture and habit change to turn around the flow of plastic into our environment, not just into the sea but our parks and rivers too.

It seems a big task, but we can all make a difference. All the small individual steps we take in our lives add up. Choosing to shop local, support our ‘Plastic Free Champions’ and follow simple life hacks like using a refill water bottle (or refill beer cup!) mean we are tackling the problem properly, at source.

For more information contact Rachel Yates on plasticfreepz@gmail.com

You can find out more about Plastic Free Penzance here: https://www.facebook.com/plasticfreepenzance/?ref=bookmarks

Find out more about Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities here: www.plasticfree.org

More information on The Cornish Pirates can be found here: https://cornish-pirates.com

Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities

Plastic Free Communities exist to free where we live from single-use. They bring people together on a journey to tackle avoidable single-use plastic, from the beach all the way back to the businesses and brands who create it. It’s not about removing all plastic from our lives. It’s about kicking our addiction to throwaway single-use plastic, and changing the system that produces it.

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