The West Hill Christmas Party

What a triumph! Big thanks to West Hill Community Association for such a fantastic evening. Just one niggle that I felt so strongly about I had to email WHCA: finding an alternative to plastic trays and cutlery.  I received a reply from one of the Trustees, Colette, agreeing absolutely; advising that a solution will be found for next time, and asking me if I would like to write an article for The Whistler on the subject. She wrote, “Hang the story on admonishing WHCA for its bad behaviour at an otherwise marvellous party!” How could I resist?

So, here’s my four-pence worth on ‘Single-Use Plastics’. Apologies if I’m preaching to the converted.

Single-use plastics are causing huge worldwide environmental problems (check out ‘Blue Planet II’, or take a casual stroll along our beaches or streets). Just a few small changes to our habits can make a big impact. Here are some top tips on how you can cut down your personal plastic footprint.

Carry a reusable bottle. In the UK we use over 35 million plastic bottles every year. Find out where you can refill your bottle free of charge at

Say no to plastic straws. Ask your pub and other outlets to offer paper straws. More info can be found at:

Take a reusable coffee cup. 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year in the UK alone. Yes, that’s 2.5 billion! Carry a reusable cup with you. Some cafés even offer a small discount if you use your own cup – if they don’t, ask them why not.

Avoid excessive food packaging. Make different choices in the supermarket or buy loose fruit and veg from a greengrocer which is often cheaper AND you’ll be supporting local businesses.

Use refill stations for detergents. Find your nearest at

Say no to disposable cutlery and food containers. Carry a spoon, fork or spork in your bag or keep cutlery at work and help to save not just the environment, but money as well, by taking a packed lunch in a reusable container.

Have your milk delivered.  You can find your nearest milkman at

Avoid microbeads.   A ban comes into force in 2018 but until then avoid products containing polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and nylon.

Carry a foldaway bag rather than buying a plastic one. Get into the habit of carrying a ‘bag for life’.

Info by kind permission of Greenpeace. 

The Government is to investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste, and Brighton and Hove City Council recently passed two motions calling for a ban on the use of single-use plastics in Brighton and Hove’s council buildings.

And as for the next West Hill Christmas Social . . . perhaps we could all take our own crockery and cutlery to the party, or hire it and take turns doing the washing-up!!! Only joking.

I think, after the above rant, the least I can do is to help source some recyclable crockery and cutlery. Anyone got any ideas?

Em Clay


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