Devon resorts aim to be plastic straw-free with support from UK's leading marine charity

Date posted: 21 May 2018

Teignmouth, Dawlish and Dawlish Warren to host straw monster to raise awareness of single-use plastic

It could be the final straw soon for three Devon towns as they bid to make their businesses plastic straw free.

Teignmouth, Dawlish and Dawlish Warren have been supported by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) in their efforts, which are backed by both town councils.


The Teignmouth Recycled Art In the Landscape (TRAIL) group have helped the charity change last year’s wet wipe monster, Wallace, into Slurper the straw monster!

Slurper is a bespoke art installation, which inflates into a 8m wide x 3.5m tall monster covered in a recycled straw waistcoat. TRAIL has been working with MCS to help transition the town’s businesses to become plastic straw free. The group began collecting waste plastic straws in late 2017 and has used them to make Slurper’s coat.


“The recycled straw waistcoat is the culmination of three months of used-straw collection and a straw amnesty in Teignmouth organised by TRAIL artists. We collected around 50,000 straws from local businesses and persuaded most of them to stop using single use plastic straws in the process. The sculpture took two weeks to make and used around 30,000 straws. We were assisted by the West Teignmouth Craft Club and Kingsway Youth Group in cleaning and stapling each of the straws to an old, discarded football net,” says Amy McCarthy from TRAIL.

MCS beach clean volunteers find thousands of plastic drinking straws around UK coasts annually, and millions of people have seen film footage of the harm they do to wildlife such as marine turtles.

“For an item we often use for just a few minutes – that’s even less time than a single-use carrier bag – plastic straws really do suck, so it’s really exciting to see businesses switching away from plastic straws,” says Emma Cunningham, MCS Senior Pollution Campaigns Officer. “This fantastic effort in Teignmouth and Dawlish has only taken a few months and we’re really proud to have been able to support TRAIL, the councils and Dawlish Against Plastic in this. Let’s hope we can get all the local businesses on board very soon.”

In Teignmouth only a handful of businesses have not yet gone plastic straw free, whilst along the coast in Dawlish, 40 businesses have pledged to ditch straws.

Both towns are hosting straw free events over the Bank Holiday weekend and Slurper will take centre stage at both.

On Saturday 26th May between 11am to 3pm, Slurper will be at the Den celebrating Teignmouth’s efforts to go plastic straw free. He’ll be on the lawn at Dawlish on Sunday 27th May at 11am and on the beach at Dawlish Warren on Monday 28th May, at 11am. At all the locations MCS staff will be explaining why giving up straws will help our seas and beaches and marine wildlife.

“Teignbridge District Council are committed to educating our residents about the shortcomings of single-use plastics, the harmful affect they can have on our environment and encouraging consumers to shop smart. Plastic straws suck!” says Sarah Holgate, Teignmouth DC Resort Supervisor.

“Since taking up ‘The Last Straw Challenge’ earlier this year, Dawlish Against Plastic, supported by Dawlish Town Council, has been able to encourage many independent businesses in the area to take ‘the Challenge’ and stop using plastic straws. Some have shown great enthusiasm for the idea and have also changed all their take away items. We thank you all!” says Vanessa Riley, from Dawlish Against Plastic

With generous support from The Valentine Charitable Trust.


Actions you can take

  1. Download our straw poster
  2. Refuse straws at your local restaurant/bar
  3. Download straw graphic for cafe/bar counter
  4. Share #stopsucking
  5. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019

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