“Plastic Free North Devon” – visitor campaign.

Local environmental charity Plastic Free North Devon (PFND) relaunch their Visitor Campaign for 2022, working to empower and support local businesses to encourage positive environmental behaviour change.

Building on the success of previous years, the campaign will include updated resources via a ‘Menu of Ideas’ for hospitality businesses, new toy shed locations across northern Devon, promotion of wooden bellyboards over the cheap polystyrene alternatives, and a workshop and toolkit for housekeepers, property managers and cleaners providing easy-to-action ideas to ‘tread lightly’ and lessen their environmental impact.

North Devon welcomes over 5 million visitors each summer, and the campaign aims to make it as easy as possible for them to connect with the stunning nature here on our doorsteps, in a way that protects our towns, moors, and beaches for generations to come.

The updated online Menu of Ideas launches this week and enables businesses to pick what resources or actions they would like to take and use however they see fit when they sign up to the campaign. From posters to email footers to leaflets; the choice and flexibility is there to suit any type of business.

Local businesses who sign up to the campaign will also be offered a 10% discount on the charity’s wooden bellyboards. PFND are encouraging businesses to purchase these boards for their guests to use whilst on holiday to combat the ‘wave of waste’ and eliminate the need to purchase cheap polystyrene boards which are abandoned on local beaches each year in their thousands, causing environmental damage.

A recent workshop hosted by the charity welcomed cleaners and holiday let owners to share and develop their ideas of how to lead by example when it comes to welcoming their guests – from locally sourced, plastic free welcome hampers to refillable cleaning products and toiletries to getting guests on board with recycling. This is going to be followed by a toolkit which will be available on their website from June and there will be a further workshop in September for anyone who missed out in March.

Another addition to this year’s campaign is the expansion of the Toy Library system trialled at Croyde last summer. The bespoke shed, built by one of the charity’s long term volunteers, allows visitors to borrow and leave toys such as buckets and spades at an easily accessible beachside location. The aim is to reduce the sheer volume of plastic toys that end up at best sitting in a cupboard at home unused for 51 weeks of the year, or at worst end up discarded on our beaches. The charity has received funding from North Devon Council via the HM Gov and EU Welcome Back Fund to build another 6 toy sheds which will be in place before the summer holidays, so keep an eye out for more details coming soon and ways individuals can get involved in building the libraries!

Anne-Marie Eveleigh, PFND Director of Operations, says: “We have created a simple way of allowing businesses to decide what journey they would like to take in helping to protect the environment and support our campaign. They could order some posters and leaflets to put around their accommodation, they could add the messaging to their accommodation information booklet, they could purchase a wooden bellyboard for their guests to use, or they could do all of these and more. It’s entirely up to them.

We’ve expanded our offering from previous years, broadening the scope of the campaign to really encourage businesses and the visitors that they serve to engage in a meaningful way, beyond just bringing a refillable water bottle. All businesses are on their own path and we want to make it as easy as possible to make a difference. Connecting people with the problem and with the nature that surrounds them is key in encouraging behaviour change.”

Want to see how your business can get on board? To sign up to this year’s Visitor Campaign, head to https://plasticfreenorthdevon.org/plastic-free-holidays

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