The Champions Awards 2021: a profile of Sidmouth Plastic Warriors

The winner of the Sustainability category for the Champions Awards was the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors, led by Denise Bickley. 

One nomination said of the founder: “She really puts herself out for the local community, in her role as a councillor but also getting involved in things like organising the leaflet drop at the beginning of the first coronavirus lockdown.” 

The Plastic Warriors was formed in January 2018:

And was largely inspired by David Attenborough’s series in late 2017:

Blue Planet II > How plastic is slowly killing our sea creatures, fish and birds

Blue Planet II > a celebration of ocean conservation > and what you can do to help save our oceans

With this call to action, the Sidmouth Plastic Warriors was started “with the purpose of reducing plastic waste in Sidmouth, clearing up what is already here and helping to push forward change locally, nationally and globally.”

Here’s the first blog entry posted on 

Starting up Sidmouth Plastic Warriors

I am Denise, now the Chair, but originally just me, picking up rubbish either on my own or with my family (husband and 2 sons). I’ve written to the paper various times, like this one…  and as mentioned in that article I tried to get a petition going to ban non-disposable plastic film that ended up getting 8000 signatures – not enough to be debated but still not bad. So many other petitions have been done since then, and a few of them have managed to get through to debate stage, but as we know the government’s plan is to eradicate them by 2042 – nowhere near fast enough. They have to deal with lobbying from the plastic industry – and that’s not good enough for me, and all the other people like me. I was so frustrated, but then Blue Planet 2 came out and suddenly everyone felt the same – it is time to act, NOW

With a subsequent meeting of ‘all the players’ to see how a ‘Plastic Free Sidmouth’ could progress:

‘Plastic Free Sidmouth’ meeting planned |

Which then led to the first big event looking at the issues from all angles:

Sidmouth Plastics Week > Tuesday 8th – Saturday 12th May | futuresforumvgs

And in July 2018, Sidmouth gained the ‘Plastic Free Coastline’ accreditation from Surfers Against Sewage:

Sidmouth becomes Plastic Free! | futuresforumvgs

Some four years on, and following on from the Champions Award, the Plastic Warriors are determined to press ahead with ‘the next stage’ – with further initiatives to encourage a reduction of and alternatives to plastic.

Watch this space:

Sidmouth Plastic Warriors |