As the Plastic Free Officer for the Eryri National Park, my days are filled with a wide variety of tasks: school workshops, business audits, meetings with researchers and even photoshoots! No two days are the same, and it’s been an exciting journey of testing new ideas, measuring their efficacy and collaborating with committed people along the way. The goal is always the same – how can we work with the public to start with us on the Plastic Free Path and inspire people help us make Yr Wyddfa the first plastic free mountain in the world?
To give you a taste of my diverse daily routine, here’s a recent one that had me roam the foothills of Yr Wyddfa, in search of the Plastic Free Path!
My day begins at the office, where I immerse myself in content creation work for the innovative and exciting Mabinogion Plastic Free Communications Campaign. This initiative sheds light on the pressing litter issues in the Yr Wyddfa area and the broader boundaries of Eryri, in partnership with some passionate social media influencers who have taken on Mabinogion characters. By combining traditional Welsh folklore with real-world issues, we hope to engage a wide audience and aim to inspire positive behavioural shifts, encouraging locals and visitors alike to become stewards of the environment.
Leaving the office behind, I make my way to the charming village of Llanberis. Here, I meet Fiona and Rob Nicholson, owners of Plas Coch Guest House, who have wholeheartedly embraced the Plastic Free Path and joined our bespoke Plastic Free Business Scheme. Over a cup of tea, we discuss the positive impact businesses can have by reducing their plastic consumption and implementing sustainable practices. Their dedication serves as an inspiration, demonstrating that small steps can be the impetus for big change, and how becoming more sustainable is mutually beneficial for business and the environment.
Next, I hop on the Sherpa’r Wyddfa, a convenient mode of transportation that connects various locations around the foothills of the mountain. As I journey to Pen y Pass, I strike up conversations with local Volunteer Wardens, who have just finished a shift litter picking on the mountain. We exchange ideas about tackling single-use plastics and littering issues. It’s heartening to witness the eagerness and altruism of our volunteers – individuals dedicated to keeping Yr Wyddfa pristine and protecting its sustainable future. I also get chatting with some keen hikers, who have bagged up their rubbish and plan to take it home with them. By engaging with visitors, I aim to foster a sense of responsibility and collective action.
Descending to Nant Gwynant, I arrive at the Warden Interpretation Van where I join forces with students from Bangor University who are involved in data gathering for their Masters research project concerning visitors and littering. Together, we have a quick chat and analyse some information collected and brainstorm behaviour change interventions we could trial in the near future. Today they have been asking visitors to sign a ‘Plastic Free’ pledge and have had dialogue with walkers about how they intend to dispose of litter. Witnessing the enthusiasm and commitment of Bangor University students reaffirms my belief that many of the younger generation are proud environmentalists, and that their input will be instrumental to the success of our project.
As the day draws to a close, I feel inspired and hopeful of achieving our ambitious goal. Yr Wyddfa has not only provided me with a stunning backdrop for my day’s work but has also allowed me to connect with like-minded individuals and witness the positive changes taking place.
If you’re as passionate about preserving our natural treasures as I am, and the many people I met with on my day, I invite you to join our campaign.
Together, we can make a significant impact, one plastic free step at a time.