One of Exeter’s biggest law firms has swapped law for litter picking, joining forces with Plastic Free Exeter to pick up litter along Exeter’s Quay.

Eleven volunteers from Stephens Scown LLP spent two hours collecting litter from Exeter’s Quay on Thursday, 22 November. The group collected six bags of litter, which included lots of single use plastics as well as two deck chairs.

The firm has also signed up to Plastic Free Exeter’s pledge, committing to reducing – and cutting out where possible – its use of single use plastics.

The litter picking initiative was organised by Jess Swallow, a trainee at Stephens Scown, who is also part of the firm’s Giving Back group, which leads the firm’s fundraising and volunteering activity. She said: “We were shocked by the amount of rubbish we collected. There has been so much in the news about single use plastics, but to see the impact it is having on our city first hand really brought home the scale of the problem.”

Sara Palmer from Plastic Free Exeter said: “Litter picks have been the best way for getting community action on the plastics problem. When people join in and get hands-on in their own city, they see the issue first-hand which is the next level of awareness.”

Plastic Free Exeter is raising awareness of the importance of reducing single use plastic and is aiming to achieve Plastic Free status for Exeter by 2020, as part of Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free Coastlines project.

Stephens Scown is playing its part in tackling single use plastics by providing all of its staff with their own reusable metal water bottles. The firm has also taken part in other litter picks in Exeter and near its offices in Cornwall.

Stephens Scown has over 300 staff, including more than 50 partners, across its offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. The firm has been ranked for four consecutive years in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 2017.