Transition Stroud Newsletter Editor Josephine Murray (JM) talks to Claudi Williams, Chair of Stroud District Action on Plastic
See below for three things you can do today!
JM: What prompted you to start SDAP?
CW: In 2016 I attended Transition Stroud’s 10 year anniversary event at the Sub Rooms where the 200 participants were asked to add ideas for future projects to big flip charts dotted around the room. I wrote ‘reducing single-use plastic’ on each one. The topic was foremost on my mind as we had just begun to cut out plastic at home in a comprehensive and systematic way, and I was knee-deep in learning about polymers and their impact on the environment. TS director Eric Wilkinson and I organised a public meeting at Atelier Stroud, called ‘living without plastic’. To our surprise a large number of people turned up, including several Stroud Councillors, and the idea to form a local action group was born. This was a year and a half before the Blue Planet documentary alerted the nation to the global problem of plastic. As our activities grew over the years, the group’s name changed from Stroud Action on Plastic to Stroud Valleys Action on Plastic, and was finally launched as Stroud District Action on Plastic in 2019.
JM: Could you tell us how it operates?
CW: Depending on activities, our core group has six to 20 members. Chloe Turner, James Millar and myself have key roles, mainly to uphold our community group constitution. Volunteers join us regularly or ad hoc to help at events and run projects. When we were working towards the Plastic Free Community award, a large number of businesses, community groups and schools joined in and did their bit to cut out single-use plastic. Our work is always focussed on positive action that can be taken at home, school, work, and in the community.
JM: Could you tell us about SDAP's recent achievements?
CW: Last year we received the Queen’s Award for Volunteer Services which provided us with an opportunity to get together and celebrate after the pandemic. During the pandemic we put together our website Action on Plastic where we put all our online resources such as how-to guides and listings of where to shop, repair and recycle. The website has over 800 visitors a month.
JM: What are your plans for SDAP in 2023 and beyond?
CW: We are hatching a plan to offer consultancy services to small businesses in a more organised way, help Stroud get a reusable festival cup/takeaway box, and find a project coordinator to take projects forward.
JM: What else do you personally do for work and voluntarily?
CW: I work for the local sustainability and environmental educational charity SEEd and am currently helping with their young changemaker programme for 190 local students. I am also involved with organising the beta launch of Kando - a new app to enable people to get paid to do work for nature. In 2020, Hawthorn Press published my book ‘Small Steps to Less Waste’ in which 11 local people (all of whom you probably know) share their stories and practical tips - proceeds from the book go to SDAP.
JM: Whereabouts do you live, and what do you like about that area?
I live by the woods at the top of Whiteshill, with views over fields and the five valleys. My favourite thing at the moment is hearing the birds’ dawn chorus and seeing the verges and paddocks bursting with flowers.
JM: What do you do in your spare time?
CW: After years of action-on-plastic related activity and being a bit of a spokesperson on the topic, I am spending more time in my comfort zone, making things at home, pottering in the garden and spending time at the seaside with my husband when we can.
|Three Things You Can Do Today
1) Use our list of where to refill and buy unpackaged locally. Alongside the coming UN global treaty on plastics and slowly emerging government regulations, we can reduce the need for single-use packaging (of any kind) by the way we shop.
2) Download our home plastic-use survey and look at some of the alternatives we’ve suggested.
3) Check out the handy resources page which indexes all our links to where to shop, repair, recycle, and also to articles, videos, research and more.
Find out about more local Stroud Transitioneers
If you would like to share your sustainable living story, please contact Josephine on email@example.com