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A few weeks ago, IFPC were contacted by an Anglo European school student, Louis Porter, who lives in Ingatestone and is working on a campaign to make our village plastic bag free (please find his article below). He was invited to attend our Climate Emergency Working Group meeting where he presented his ideas – they were warmly met by our councillors, who were happy to support Louis in his campaigning. IFPC are currently working on possible ways to help him bring those ideas to life and will publish the updates soon.

Bring it, Borrow it, Bag it!

“I don’t think I need to explain how incredibly damaging plastic pollution has been to our oceans, forests, and local environment. If you went now to your local forest, you would likely find a shameful amount waste littered everywhere, lying on the ground, unsightly and dangerous.

Furthermore, the damage this litter does to our wildlife is unforgivable! Just a couple of weeks ago, the ‘South Essex wildlife hospital’ in Orsett stated that “thousands of animals are being killed each year because of litter” and the RSPCA explained that they have received, in the last three years, over ten thousand reports of animals being injured or killed due to discarded litter. I find this inexcusable and distressing.

When considering these situations, it’s easy to disassociate and think that there is nothing we can do. However, recently, I discovered that Penzance in Cornwall has successfully made their town plastic bag free, and I thought “What’s stopping us, here in Ingatestone?” Taking inspiration from the campaign done in Penzance, I took an idea to the parish council.

I would like to introduce a ‘bag borrowing scheme’, possibly based at the phone box outside the community centre. From a survey I took from a cross-section of Ingatestoners, I found that most people who use plastic bags do so because they forget to bring a reusable bag and don’t have an alternative. This scheme aims to resolve that issue. With the help of the parish council, we intend to use the phone box as a ‘drop-off/pick-up point’ for reusable bags. A stock of reusable bags will be held there, and anybody who has forgotten their bag can pick one up and keep it to use in the future, or return it when it is no longer needed. Conversely, those with a large excess of reusable bags can donate them to the scheme by dropping them off at the phone box.

I truly believe that by implementing this simple scheme, we can irradicate the use of single-use plastic bags in Ingatestone. Suggestions or feedback on how to enhance this idea, or any questions, are welcome and can be directed to the parish council.”

Louis Porter

Age 16

Resident of Ingatestone