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by Emma Fashokun, manager of the Cornish Gems Coffee Lounge

It has been so heartening as a plastic-free committee to witness the engagement of the local business community in our quest. There are so many plastic-free champions in St Ives now—businesses who have all committed to reducing their dependence on single-use plastic. From enabling the use of refillable water bottles by offering free water, to giving discounts to customers with re-usable coffee cups, and even stopping stocking plastic water bottles altogether, there has been a huge commitment to the plastic free ideal.

We are now asking St Ives businesses to add another item to their plastic-free to-do list. Please let’s stop the use of plastic cable ties to attach promotional posters to lamp-posts, signposts and fencing around town.

plastic tie post

Cable ties have been found more and more frequently at our beach cleans. It only takes a quick glance around town to spot dozens of them encircling lamp-posts and littering the streets. Inevitably, these discarded, relatively small pieces of plastic will end up in our drains, on our beaches, and polluting the sea for years to come.

Plastic cable ties are also a real hazard for our wildlife. The BBC reported on an otter in the River Stour that was in danger of being strangled by a cable tie stuck around its neck. The London Economic highlighted the threat to our wildlife with images of a duck that had sadly died as a result of a plastic cable tie trapped around its beak and neck. The RSPCA has reported record numbers of wildlife being injured by plastic litter and has advice on how to help prevent this on its website.

plastic tie beach

In St Ives we see a lot of these plastic cable ties being used to secure promotional posters, advertisements, and even council notifications. These posters are often of a temporary nature to promote an event or special offer. Please consider using a biodegradable alternative, such as string, cord, or a tie made of a biodegradable material. There are even water-soluble ties now available on the market. To use a plastic cable tie that will not degrade in hundreds of years for a promotion that may last a couple of days is so avoidable and there are other sustainable options.

Let’s keep up the good work, St Ives, and make single use plastics a thing of the past, securing our beautiful coastlines, wildlife and beaches for future generations.