BUSINESSES on Exmoor are drastically cutting down on single-use plastic in a bid to make the whole of the National Park and West Somerset a plastic free hotspot.

With Plastic Free July about to get underway, the area is joining more than 800 communities across the UK working to tackle single-use plastic as part of the Plastic Free Community campaign by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewerage (SAS).

Porlock Vale is likely to be the first community within the boundaries of the Park to be awarded plastic free status, joining nearby Watchet and Minehead who achieved the accolade earlier this year.

It forms part of a drive to make visiting the area’s picturesque towns, villages and beauty spots a cleaner, more enjoyable experience for all.

Plastic bottles and bags, disposable coffee cups, plastic food packaging, straws, balloons and bathroom plastics are among the single-use items being phased out across the Park.

Exmoor Magazine, the Great House B&B in Timberscombe, The Exmoor Tea Company and The Kind Kitchen are the latest among 16 businesses across Exmoor to have been recognised as SAS Plastic Free Champions, having found clever ways of cutting single-use plastic from their trade.

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They join Dunster First School, Lyn Climate Action Group and other local groups who have pledged to encourage community action and spread the plastic free message.

Naomi Cudmore, editor of Exmoor Magazine, said: “We were particularly pleased when our printers offered us a potato-starch wrapping for our subscriber copies of the magazine, which meant that we could say goodbye to plastic wrappers, and we are now looking to move to their new paper wrapper as a next step.

"Every little helps and it's great that so many people are joining plastic free networks like this one."

National Park offices and retail sites have also been cleaning up their act, with their network of National Park Centres acting as crisp packet recycling points, switching plastic bags for paper ones and stocking a range of refillable water bottles.

School children visiting the National Park’s Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning have been collecting their crisp packets, water bottles and other recyclables, as well as participating in discussions about greener lifestyles, while Exmoor Rangers have litter picking kits available to loan out to local volunteers and are trialling new #2MinuteLitterPick boards at popular sites.

Peter Hoyland, community lead for Plastic Free Exmoor, said: “The pandemic rumbles on but it can’t dampen our spirits and it’s been wonderful to see so many local businesses and organisations getting behind the effort to eliminate single use plastic from our National Park.

"We’re so close to our goal and are now focusing our efforts on recruiting more community allies, like schools, clubs, village halls, libraries, places of worship, sports teams, essentially any local organisation willing to help us spread the plastic free message and inspire others.”

More community allies are needed to sign up to the scheme. To join and get an official wooden plaque and certificate, they must pledge to remove at least three lines of single-use products in favour of sustainable or reusable alternatives, and to help spread the word to their networks, with an array of SAS resources available online to help.

To find out more about Plastic Free Exmoor and get involved, email Peter at, or follow

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