How we’re going ‘green’ at The Greenbank
Meet our Sustainability Manager Owen, as we chat about how he’ll be leading all things green at The Greenbank. Owen moved to Falmouth from London nearly two years ago and as he loved Cornwall so much he decided to stay. After several discussions, the Greenbank team recently recognised him as the perfect candidate for our new role.
How did you first become interested in ‘green’ issues?
I became interested in sustainability and conservation when travelling New Zealand. As a country they have enough incredible landscapes and unique species to inspire anyone to want help protect the planet. As a result, I recently studied an MSc in Conservation Science and Policy at the University of Exeter’s Penryn campus with a focus on marine protection.
What made The Working Boat decide to go plastic free?
I think the staff were the real drivers. I was always keen to reduce plastic waste but was really surprised at the positive reaction and support from my colleagues. Our pub manager Mike and Nina in the Water’s Edge bar in particular both helped get movement in the hotel running.
What can people do to make a difference?
It’s the little choices we make that will help big companies and supermarkets get their act together. I try to take my own container to the local butcher in town. And most fruit and vegetables have a natural protective outer layer so always pick up the loose items and ditch the bagged apples – soon the message will trickle up. If people you know need encouragement, take them down to one of Cornwall’s beaches after a big storm. The amount of plastic on these days never stops shocking me.
What will your new role entail?
Communicating with all the department managers and researching plastic alternatives.
How long will it take to make Falmouth Cornwall’s next plastic straw free town?
This year is already looking like it could be a real turning point for Cornwall and the UK (take a look at The Final Straw Cornwall for example). I think people are really getting behind the message of reducing disposable plastic. So hopefully Falmouth will be straw free soon and Cornwall could be a world leader in plastic reduction by the end of the year. What I hope is that the message and publicity sticks as the problem is huge, but fixable.
We started changing our straws and removing them from the bars a few months ago. It worked really well and with the plastic free movement taking off it was a perfect time to expand to other items.
What other steps will you be taking to avoid disposables at The Greenbank?
The Working Boat is already a registered water refill station and I hope to have more extensive recycling system in place soon. The next step is to do an audit of the products we use and replace all the pointless plastic I can find in different departments. There are also other issues, such as only using sustainably sourced seafood, to help protect Cornwall’s unique marine life.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that every little choice you make to avoid a pointless plastic is an important one. If we stop using single use plastics, companies will stop producing them. And it’s not just stopping the source – we need to help clean up the plastic that is already out there. So get down to a local beach clean (we’ll have plenty planned this year) and be a part of protecting our beautiful oceans.