Penarth's pristine strand of sand (left) is kept clean by local beach wardens and conscientious residents. On the right is what the polystyrene polluted beach at Barry Island looked like in July.

Penarth’s pristine strand of sand (left) is kept clean by conscientious local volunteer beach wardens . On the right however is what the polystyrene polluted beach at Barry Island looked like in July.

It’s understood there may be moves afoot to revive a Penarth Civic Society initiative to reduce the proliferation in the town of  plastic food trays made of expanded polystyrene – also known as  (EPS).

Chris Wyatt Treasurer of the Penarth Civic Society

Chris Wyatt Treasurer of the Penarth Civic Society

Chris Wyatt of Penarth Civic Society – who is one of the volunteer beach wardens who keep Penarth’s foreshore free of litter –  has described EPS as “one of the worst pollutants of our beach here at Penarth” particularly in the form of  take-away food containers.

Discarded containers often spill out of over-full litter-bins and frequently end up on the seashore – where volunteer beach wardens conscientiously pick-up large amounts of it every week. Since Mr Wyatt’s original alert – published in the Society newsletter in 2013  –  the number of EPS containers discarded in Penarth appears to have multiplied.

Environmentalists say EPS takes “hundreds of years” to degrade and  – as it easily diasintegrates into small beads –  it makes it not only difficult to retrieve, but more likely to enter the marine food chain. The material is not recyclable

Last year the environmental group Friends of Barry Beaches established an on-line petition calling on the Welsh Labour Government to “halt the sight of millions of polystyrene food and drinks cartons littering the beaches and countryside of Wales. “

On July 12 2016 the Welsh Labour Government kicked the issue into the long-grass – claiming  that the data on polystyrene litter on Welsh beaches was “very limited” – but did agree to commission a Swansea University study of the problem.

The familiar EPS polystyrene chip trays littering Barry Island Beach on July 20th 2016 (Photo Nicola Selfridge)

The familiar EPS polystyrene chip trays littering Barry Island Beach on July 20th 2016. Retailers can buy 500 trays for £12 . The material gets into the marine food chain    (Photo Nicola Selfridge)

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) suggested fast-food sales in Barry be stopped

Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) asked whether  fast-food sales in Barry should be stopped until “people stop littering”

On July 20th however what were described as “shocking scenes” of  takeaway litter on Barry Island beach prompted Penarth councillor and Vale of Glamorgan Council Deputy Leader Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) to publish a question on Twitter :-Should we stop selling take-aways until people stop littering? #justsaying”.

Cllr Burnett’s comment provoked angry reaction from Barry fast-food retailers with the  proprietor of O’Shea’s retorting on Twitter “Don’t blame the people who sell it! #Ridiculouscomment #worktogether #EducateToParticipate” –  and calling Cllr Burnett’s comments “ridiculous”.

The adverse reaction in Barry this summer, appears to have put a temporary stop to any further action by the Vale Council  – but it also begs the question – if the fast-food retailers aren’t responsible for the proliferating volume of EPS customer-trays, then just who is?

The Penarth Civic Society’s Chris Wyatt points out that  EPS food containers are actually illegal in some parts of the world and, in those places, hot-food retailers have had to find alternatives – and there are now plenty of such products on the market .

It’s understood that one idea now  being suggested by Mr Wyatt is the issue in Penarth of special “Beach Friendly” certificates to all fast-food outlets who agree to withdraw the use of EPS containers.

It may well be however that –  given the environmental damage caused by  EPS trays and cups – responsible hot-food take-away retailers in Penarth  might well want to consider withdrawing these packing products of their own volition .


About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
This entry was posted in Penarth Daily News. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. tomtom says:

    Well I actually agree with Burnett. These containers should be banned. Its goes further, the costly and unnecessary plastic wrappers on food and goods in supermarkets should be banned too. Truth is the UK is very dirty. Lots of dirty people. Very few countries if anywhere in Europe comes near to it. Our towns as well. Just go around Canton or Riverside and see the heaps of rubbish mounting week by week. But banning fast food outlets from using these plastic trays, for outside food sales anyway would be a start.

    • Martin Coffee says:

      I agree entirely with these comments but I would go further. I would add a hefty pollution tax on non recyclable packaging and implement a ban on excessive packaging. In addition I would ban the use of disposable containers etc when eating in at cafeterias such as McDonalds.

      • pompousfruit says:

        I agree. There is much less litter on Penarth beach because there are only nice restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream kiosks and a sweet shop there and the pizza outlet has restricted opening hours. Whereas Barry Island has a strip of fast food outlets selling hot junk food. Hardly anywhere to go in and sit and eat.

  2. Louise says:

    This was not Lis Burnett’s initiative, it was originally suggested to her by Chris Wyatt of the Penarth beach wardens. I hope if Penarth does ban EPS that she doesn’t take all the credit for it.

    • pompousfruit says:

      Why would she take all the credit for it?

      • Louise says:

        Because she’s a councillor?

      • pompousfruit says:

        A sweeping generalisation there. Some councillors are actually decent people who give credit where it’s due.

      • pompousfruit says:

        She wasn’t the one dropping the litter.

      • pompousfruit says:

        Seems that you don’t like councillors or even democracy and would rather councils were replaced with unelected boards with schools becoming academies.

      • pompousfruit says:

        Circular logic being used her. A councillor comes up with a good suggestion for reducing litter and you just have to attack her and assume she will take all the credit for it being implemented. You blame her for the litter as well even though she didn’t actually drop the litter but you refuse to see council taxes spent on paid litter pickers and workers to empty the bins.

      • pompousfruit says:

        I’m not having an argument with myself at all. And she hasn’t claimed sole credit for the proposal yet. You are surmising. And there is no such thing as a straw man. You pay your council taxes. Councillors decide how it is spent and also according to statutory laws. You vote in council elections to elect councillors. You can also complain to your local councillor about issues to do with the council. That’s how local democracy works.

      • pompousfruit says:

        She has been accused of taking sole credit for the proposals and being blamed for the litter problem. Please re-read the blog and other comments. And with your instant reply it seems you’ve been furiously typing not though I doubt you can touch type.

  3. AK says:

    Nowhere in the article does it say it is her initiative.

    Why does something which attempts to do positive things, like get rid of the blight of litter in the community, end up as a personal jibe against individuals in this forum ?

    It doesn’t matter whose idea it was – it is a great idea and one which I would support. Cardboard, or old fashioned newspaper are both biodegradable and perfectly adequate for wrapping fast food.

    Of course, it would help if people actually used the bins provided, or if they were emptied before they overflow.

    • pompousfruit says:

      Because then such an initiative would deprive smug litter pickers of the chance to spend hours picking up litter.

      • Louise says:

        We’re not smug, we just feel our local environment should be kept litter free.

      • pompousfruit says:

        Actually I have found that regular volunteer litter pickers are getting very smug these days. If you really cared about your environment you would campaign against cuts to local governemnt services resulting in paid litter pickers being laid off and litter bins being emptied less frequently. You would also campaign for a mandatory deposit on all drinks containers and the banning of styrofoam containers.

  4. Fishhenge says:

    Each carton should carry a £20 refundable deposit.

  5. Andrew Worsley says:

    I may sound old fashioned but I remember a time when the fish and chip shops used only paper or card for their products chips were scooped into a wallet like shallow bag then this and the chips were wrapped in greaseproof paper then the whole wrapped in white paper of a certain type and if you asked the whole lot further wrapped in newspaper to keep the food warm, Peas were dispensed into a cardboard cup with a plastic lid . Wooden two prong forks were available to eat them with . The trouble now in Penarth apart from the wrappers is not enough litter bins despite the increase of take away outlets . And I don’t know if its a national trend but the discarding of EMPTY drinks cans on window sills or just placed on the ground in most cases only feet from a litter bin , it almost appears the now empty can has become too heavy or a inconvenience and must be disposed of instantly wherever that is . I have noticed this only this year , so I don’t know if a new practice of the young ???? I did see one youngster blatantly place his empty can on a fridge that was being thrown out as I was outside the front door , the litter bin was only 20 feet away but he had to instantly put it down after the last drop , I almost said something to him as he knew I had seen him do it , but he only looked about 15 so I didn’t bother.

  6. Anom says:

    Humm I would like to say that these councillors are nowt more than a joke just looking out for themselves wasting the people’s money . I have lost count of the many overflowing bins I have seen some don’t even get empty for weeks. Now would it not be better to spend money on that then a comfy chair for her ass ?.

  7. pompousfruit says:

    When I was young most people packed a picnic to take to the beach and only bought ice cream and coffee when they were there. The number of hot food take away outlets should be limited near beaches. It’s one thing to have buy one on a winter walk on the beach to blow away the cobwebs but not on a hot day. A sandwich bar would be better on Barry Island. Too many people on the beach on Barry Island go there to stuff themselves with junk food.

    It was in Plaid Cymru’s manifesto this year to ban styrofoam containers in Wales. I don’t know why the proposal was kicked out in the Welsh Assembly.

    The number of volunteer litter wardens who manage to keep Penarth beach clean would not be able to cope with Jackson Bay as much fewer people sit on Penarth beach and swim in the sea They are there mostly to walk on the promenade and pier.

  8. Paul says:

    Look its simple, the businesses sells their food in these containers.
    If they didn’t, the public couldn’t throw it away wherever they felt like it.
    Stop using em, an the public cant throw em away.
    Logical really…………..

  9. Louise says:

    There is much less litter on Penarth beach because we beach wardens clear it up!!! It’s not because the cafes and restaurants are “nice” or the people who use them! We are there every day of the year come rain or shine cleaning up after the idiots who leave their rubbish on our beautiful beach.

    • LizG. says:

      Louise, I agree with your comments, entirely!!!

    • pompousfruit says:

      If neither beach had litter bins removed for a week and no litter picked up by litter pickers then Jackson Bay would be in a far worse state than Penarth Beach. It’s bigger for a start and more people go to Barry Island on a hot day to sunbathe and swim and paddle in the sea as Penarth beach is too pebbly to sit on except when the tide is out. It’s also muddier.

  10. I do regular Saturday morning clean ups at Penarth Beach and had no idea there were regular Beach Wardens. Maybe I could team up with you?

  11. Peter Church says:

    I sometimes wonder where Liz Burnett’s loyalties lie?
    Or her her own progress up the greasy pole?

    • pompousfruit says:

      I’ve never met her so cannot make a judgment about her character and motives but I found nothing wrong with her tweet. Maybe people should eat in cafes and restaurants more instead of buying take-aways to scoff on the beach or just buy sandwiches and pasties in paper bags.

Comments are closed.