An Exeter law firm has taken another step in the battle against plastic pollution by working with one of the South West’s brightest community interest companies, Beach Guardian.

Stephens Scown LLP signed up to the Plastic Free Exeter pledge in late 2018 and has been taking action to cut down on its plastic use since then. This has included arranging a plastic collection along Exeter’s Quay, collecting all the plastic used in one week to assess where this comes from and looking at ways to reduce this as part of the firm’s ‘Giving Back’ program.

Solicitor Sarah Newton and Paralegal Jess Fallowes organised the Beach Guardian visit to the company’s Exeter office, as a way of educating employees about the long-lasting damage caused by plastic pollution.

Led by Emily and Rob Stevenson, Beach Guardian is based out of Cornwall and has developed a reputation for cleaning up the South West’s beaches while holding big businesses to account.

Emily from Beach Guardian said: “We used Walkers crisp packets in our presentation at Stephens Scown’s Exeter office to demonstrate the longevity of plastic pollution. People are always shocked to find out that we have found packets from 1997 and even as far back as 1972 in our beach cleans. We used this discovery to encourage Walkers to set up their package recycling program and to look at changing the composition of their crisp packets.

“Action by big businesses like Walkers is crucial to ending the plastic pollution problem, but there are loads of things we can all do in our own lives. We are so encouraged by the enthusiasm from the people we met at Stephens Scown – it is great to have more advocates for this important cause.”

The Beach Guardian team also reminded Stephens Scown employees about the devastating effects of plastic pollution on marine life, highlighting the plight of sea birds through Chris Jordan’s ALBATROSS film.

Explaining what employees had gained from the educational visit by the Beach Guardian team, Verity Slater, Partner in the employment team and Giving Back project leader said:

“Nothing beats hearing first hand from people who are on the front line doing something to tackle the plastic pollution problem. The Beach Guardian team are incredibly inspiring and we are all fired up to play our part in fighting back against plastic pollution.”

Stephens Scown has 320 employees, including more than 50 partners, across its offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. The firm has been ranked for five consecutive years in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list.