THE co-ordinator of the organisation that is working to eliminate single-use plastic in Falmouth has said that the litter found in the harbour during the town's sea shanty festival should not overshadow what has been achieved so far.

On Sunday and Monday Clean Ocean Sailing, which works to keep the seas clean and partners closely with Plastic Free Falmouth, posted on Facebook about the 'horrible' amount of litter – including single-use plastic cups – that was on Custom House Quay on Sunday morning and the amount of rubbish that it pulled out of the water.

Kirstie Edwards, co-ordinator of Plastic Free Falmouth, has now contacted the Packet to highlight a video she has made as a "response to what's being said about the shanty festival".

Kirstie highlighted the fact that, at the 2017 festival, there were more than 100,000 single-use plastic cups, with minimal recycling.

Last year, she said, Plastic Free Falmouth funded 2,000 reusable cups, but was still left to collect 20,000 single-use cups from the streets for recycling.

She said that this year there was a total of 15,000 reusable cups produced, with just 400 single-use cups needing to be collected for recycling.

They proved so popular that they sold out by Saturday evening, leaving some venues to switch to single-use plastic, ultimately causing the issues seen on Sunday morning.

In the video, Kirstie said: "Most of the venues involved in the shanty festival did decide to use only reusables this year.

"But, however, the uptake was so phenomenally successful everywhere ran out of cups by 4pm/5pm on Saturday, which we couldn't have predicted.

"We secretly hoped it would happen because it proves that there is a consumer demand there to have reusables rather than single-use plastic, we saw very little rubbish up until that point.

"The only rubbish we saw was around one or two of the venues that chose not to participate, so on Saturday evening at 10.30pm the Town Team and ourselves, Plastic Free Falmouth, did a walk through of town and we found very little rubbish, everything was under control – although some venues had to swap over to single-use they were putting a single-use tax of it of 20p that was going to the RNLI.

"They had recycling schemes set up and were keeping on top of it and that was working.

"Unfortunately on Sunday morning Clean Ocean Sailing, who we work with very closely, highlighted that there were about 100 cups in the harbour and around the harbour front and obviously did their audit over the weekend and they picked up 400.

"That's 400 more than there should be, but if you put that in context of me picking up 20,000 last year, you've got to consider that a win.

"It's not good enough and we should have zero, but that's a huge improvement.

"So it's really frustrating when there's a lot of negativity going around about us failing somehow and being unable to completely eradicate it.

"We've worked really hard to ensure that this didn't happen and to actually get everybody on board you have to prove there's a need for it and there will be an uptake publicly and you have to prove it's not going to break the bank and be sustainable for businesses to do."

Kirstie said that the aim for next year was clear.

She added: "I think we've got a really good place now to say this year, when we're doing our planning for next year, let's be 100 per cent plastic free.

"It needs to be something that happens and it needs to be the end goal."

Kirstie said it was a "staged process" and it had already led to much less waste, with the venues "really trying their best".

She said: "There was a huge amount to celebrate this year and I do think we need to remember that and celebrate what we've managed to achieve here.

"Just a few years ago you had single-use plastic everywhere.

"Thank you so much to the volunteers that were up cleaning up on Sunday morning."