The UK produces billions of pieces of throwaway plastics such as plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plastic cups and coffee cups every year. Yet a huge percentage of these are not recycled – instead they end up littering our streets, our beaches and washing out to sea. In fact each year, 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped in our waterways where it pollutes our oceans and harms marine wildlife. It also mars our otherwise beautiful beaches and coastlines. And with headlines such as “UK Faces Build-Up of Plastic Waste” and “Tidal Wave of Waste Hits Storm Beaches” on an almost daily basis, the problem is not going away. But, there are things we as individuals and we as a community can do, to try and stop the problem. And it’s heartening to see just how many people in our local community really are saying no to plastic.


Steampunk’s Catherine Franks tells us how you can be part of the revolution!

Steampunk Coffee is a business with a purpose at its heart. Coffee is, after all, about bringing people together and making the world a slightly better place. For 2018, instead of making resolutions, Steampunk has begun a New Year’s Revolution. We are taking positive action to minimise our environmental impact and maximise our community impact. Each month we are focusing on a different area, offering simple and easy ways people can come along with us on this journey – it’s going to be a fun (and empowering) ride!

In January we began by tackling the issue of disposable coffee cups. As a coffee business this is a problem we need to take ownership of and do something about. Did you know there are 2.5 billion cups going into landfill every year in the UK alone? We say no thank you! So, we launched several initiatives to encourage the use of reusable cups and to compost the cups we do use. And we’ve been overwhelmed with the support we have received. We have seen some really positive changes and will continue working hard on this throughout 2018.

In February we launch ‘Naked Coffee’. All the taste and none of the waste when you buy your beans loose from our roastery/cafe. Simply bring your own jar or pick up one of our canisters and then refill as and when you need plus you pay for just the coffee, not the packaging! As well as a considerable cost saving you’re preventing more plastic from being thrown away. We are also looking at moving to fully biodegradable packaging but this will be a year-long project for us as a business.

We have plenty more great ideas up our sleeves for March and the rest of the year too, so stay tuned! Find out more by following us on Facebook or Instagram and please get involved, whether it is with us, in your own communities or in small ways in your own personal life. Together all of our little changes can have a huge impact!


Our Food and Drink Columnist Amanda Farnese-Heath takes to the streets of North Berwick with her very own straw challenge.

The idea of trying to effect change can sometimes be such a hard mountain to climb as we are all so busy with our own lives that more often than not we simply do nothing!

My 2018 pledge was to start very small and just try to change one thing so I’ve taken on the straw challenge. The idea is, that if everybody takes on a very small challenge  to help reduce single-use plastics, whether it be straws or plastic cutlery then all these little changes can make a huge difference. Because if by 2050 we don’t stop using plastic there will be more of the stuff in the oceans than fish.

So far every shop I’ve visited in North Berwick who use plastic straws has been more than happy to take a box of my biodegradable alternatives. I also have names of suppliers for cutlery and alternative for polystyrene take-away containers. Any shop, bar or cafe that still has plastic straws just message me and I’ll come and drop a box off for you and the suppliers details.

Let’s all work together to keep our oceans clean.


Amanda’s Straw Challenge |


Local businessman Tommy Todd has set up the Facebook page Plastic Free North Berwick. The goal is to make our beautiful North Berwick plastic free. It’s all about changing mindsets and just saying no to needless plastic packaging. It’s part of a growing worldwide movement for change.


We can all do something to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the ocean. Here are some simple ways which will help make a difference:

1. Reuse or refuse the straw (unless it’s biodegradable).

2. Use your own flask or cup for take-away tea or coffee.

3. Switch to reusable bags.

4. Don’t buy bottled water – use your own refillable water bottle.

5. Avoid excessive food packaging and if possible buy in bulk. Consider the product-to-packaging ratio of items you buy and if possible buy the largest size.

6. Participate in a beach clean-up or simply pick up any rubbish you see on your daily walk.

7. Recycle!