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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Q & A: Claire Hughes, Plastic Free Cayman

Q & A: Claire Hughes, Plastic Free Cayman

Keep cayman plastic free




Founded by Claire Hughes, a PE teacher at Cayman Prep, Plastic Free Cayman is a non-profit organisation. It is run by volunteers who are focused on raising awareness of the plastic problem, campaigning to reduce single-use plastic and organising community beach clean-ups. Visit for more information.



Q: Why did you start the Plastic Free Cayman initiative?

A: After watching ‘A Plastic Ocean’ on Netflix I wanted to do something to help. I never knew that plastic leaches chemicals into food and water and that so little is recycled. I had also begun to notice more plastic washing up on our beaches over the years and appearing on the roadsides. As a teacher and parent I wanted to share what I had learned.


Q: What changes would you like to see at both a government and grass roots level in a year’s time?

A: First a plastic bag ban. We submitted a proposal to the government in 2018. Some businesses have voluntarily made the switch, but a change in legislation will be the only way to completely phase them out. Then a ban on plastic straws, plastic cutlery and polystyrene, all of which are single-use items and are easily replaced with compostable materials.

Other countries have adopted a bottle return scheme with success. Basically you pay a deposit when you buy a plastic bottle and get it back on return. At a grass roots level we would like all school children to watch ‘A Plastic Ocean’ and then form an ‘Eco-Team’! From there, we have plans for them to ‘Adopt a Beach’ and work together to find solutions and make changes. Empowering our youth is very important.


Q: How are the clean-ups benefiting the Cayman Islands?

A: We have collaborated with Red Sail Sports and have monthly clean-ups. This means less plastic in our waters and around the Island. It brings the community out for a common purpose – keeping Cayman beautiful. No one wants to look at garbage but sadly, with marine plastic on the increase and littering being an issue here, there will always be the need for clean-ups. We’ve had an amazing response from the community with children, adults (and pets!) coming out every month. The Cadets have joined us, Maples in the Community, State Street, Cayman Synchro, Eco Chic Cayman, school groups and MLA Barbara Conolly. It’s a real display of Caymankind.


Beach Clean-up Dates 2018/2019: Clean-ups take place on the first weekend of every month. Please visit their facebook page for information on the next one.




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