Billy’s Blog

Billy’s war on plastics

25th July, 2018

Long before the Government made its big announcement earlier this year to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, we started our own war on single-use plastics.

Since autumn last year, we have been using paper not plastic straws and have rolled out a number of eco-friendly initiatives to encourage ours customers to think about safeguarding the beach and marine life. Our latest green step forward is special bespoke recycling units, installed outside the café, for the sole purpose of collecting empty hot drink cups.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle these cups so with these containers right outside our front door, there is no excuse for leaving them on the beach,” says Brett Dyson, manager and co-owner. “We have a front row seat to one of the most stunning views of the Sussex coast and are constantly reminded how precious our beautiful environment is, so we want to do our part to protect it.”

The amount of rubbish washed up on the UK’s beaches is continuing to increase, rising by 10% in 2017, according to the annual beach clean report by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). And the south-east coast has the highest amount of litter with 1,092 items per 100 metres of beach, a rise of 45% on last year.

According to the MCS, plastic straws are among the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups.

During the summer months, we get through around 4,000 straws – but these will all now be paper. Other eco-friendly initiatives include rewarding customers with 20p off a hot drink if they bring in their own refillable mug, selling our own Billy’s on the Beach keep cup for takeaway hot drinks, and recyclable takeaway boxes for food bought from our outdoor van. Tea now comes in a fresh leaf pyramid-shaped biodegradable bags and our waiting staff have even swapped their plastic biros for pencils to write down food orders.

Our skilled head chef Richard Fleet has also roped in local suppliers to help in the war on plastic. For example, our coffee comes from Edgcumbes of Arundel, which now supplies our beans in reusable containers which they refill, rather than being stored in throwaway plastic drums or cardboard. Our greengrocer now supplies all fruit and veg in collectable trays rather than plastic and our neighbour and local fishmonger, Something Fishy, has stopped vacuum-packing fish and instead delivers it packed in ice.

The new bespoke recycling collection points for takeaway drink cups will be emptied regularly and the cups will be turned into paper straws. Brett expects to collect around 5,000 paper cups this summer alone.

“Our long-term goal is to eliminate these cups altogether and encourage all customers to use reuse containers,” said Brett, “but that is a long way down the line so getting them to think about recycling with our new collection points is a good start.”

Read our plastics policy here and see what our sister café, Billy’s on the Road near Billingshurst, is doing to reduce plastic waste here

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