Free coffee and ice cream on offer as Southsea beach cafe aims to clean up with anti-plastic scheme

Waitress Sarah Scratcherd, 22 Picture: Malcolm Wells (180615-8249)
Waitress Sarah Scratcherd, 22 Picture: Malcolm Wells (180615-8249)
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CARING customers at a popular beach cafe can now help fight the tide of plastic and earn a delicious reward by taking part in a litter-fighting initiative.

The Southsea Beach Cafe, on Eastney Esplanade, is offering a free coffee to adults and a free ice-cream to all kids who fill one of the cafe’s buckets with plastic collected from the beach.

Sarah Scratcherd with the buckets ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (180615-4638)

Sarah Scratcherd with the buckets ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (180615-4638)

Owner Ian Clarke, from Southsea, said that helping keep the area clean was important to the business.

He said: ‘Being where we are, we have a responsibility for the surrounding area. With the David Attenborough programme Blue Planet showing how plastic is affecting the oceans, it hit home and made us change our ways. We were pretty good to start with but we have had a renewed focus. For example we don’t give out straws with every drink and when we do they are made of paper. Even our ice cream spoons used to be plastic and now they are wooden. We are trying to make all our packaging compostible.

‘It has really captured the public’s attention and a few of our regulars were asking what we were doing about it, so we listened to them.’

Ian, who has two young children, said he was also keen to set a good example for them.

He said: ‘Lots of mums and dads take their kids out for a walk along the seafront and it’s been great to see them getting involved. It is something I do with my kids, picking up litter, as it really annoys me to see it. There’s been lots of coverage of the litter being left on the beach and common. The vast majority of people are good but there’s a few that let the side down.’

Ian says he’s been bowled over by the reaction so far.

He said: ‘It has been great. It was posted online and lots of people shared it and they were saying it was a good idea. We are not asking for lots of litter, just a small sandcastle bucket so it’s achievable and I’m hoping that it has helped.’

The cafe opened in July 2014 and has seen rave reviews online for its food and seafront location. Its popularity has seen the business grow and Ian now hopes to be able to put in more outside seating, subject to receiving planning permission.

The cafe, which employs 23 people, can seat 90 covers inside, with the extension allowing a further 50 places outside.

The News has joined forces with The Final Straw Solent in the ongoing fight to get rid of plastic waste in the region. The campaign has seen more than 100 businesses commit to eradicating single-use plastics, while also organising beach cleans.