At Random with Martin Laing week

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Let’s all ditch plastic

Isn’t young Felix Hughes a wee hero?

The six-year-old Oban youngster is so concerned about the damage being done to the marine environment he has written a grown-up and erudite letter to a number of movers and shakers appealing for action to reduce the amount of plastic being dumped.

Felix’s effort to help the marine eco system is just the latest attempt to jolt big firms, local authorities, small businesses and individuals into cleaning up our act.

We reported a couple of weeks ago about the Food from Argyll Cafe at the pier in Oban moving to use Vegware instead of plastics for its takeaway food and drink containers.

Cafe manager Claire Bruce told us Vegware costs the same as ‘traditional’ plastic containers, so there was no reason not to make the switch.

Claire’s initiative followed hot on the heels of a Glasgow primary school’s successful bid to persuade CalMac to ban the use of plastic straws on its vessels. CalMac was only too pleased to agree to the aims of the #NaeStrawAtAw campaign.

Here at The Oban Times, we want to persuade everyone in Oban and the wider Argyll community – businesses, the council and all of you out there – to embrace the campaign.

A similar effort is taking place on Arran to make it the first plastic-free island in Scotland and it is already making serious inroads into the amount of plastic being used.

I personally have a long way to go to become greener but I’m prepared to make the effort.

I’m starting by questioning the plastic packaging we habitually accept as ‘normal’. Instead of putting your carrots, onions or other veg into plastic bags, just put them into your trolley loose and then into your bag for life at the checkout.

And let’s all start asking – when we buy a coffee or portion of chips or whatever – to have it in Vegware or compostable containers.

If enough of us apply pressure to the businesses involved, we can persuade them to change their ways. The economic reality of having disappointed customers can take us a long way.

Here in Oban, Felix has started a ball rolling but it’s one that we can all pick up and run with.

Let’s all get behind Felix and ditch the plastic. It will make a world of a difference.

Cruising to a bumper tourist season

I was intrigued to read on the Oban and Lorn Tourism Alliance website the list of cruise ships scheduled to arrive at Oban this summer.

There are more than 30 visits planned, bringing with them many hundreds of tourists who will, no doubt, spend their hard-earned cash in the town’s businesses and at other enterprises across Argyll.

This is brilliant news for the local economy.

I have no doubt the good folk at BID4Oban will be pulling out all the stops to welcome the visitors. Town ambassadors Kay McDonald and Joe Reich try to meet and greet every cruise ship that moors in the bay, helping those who come ashore to make the most of their visit.

Local shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and tourist attractions will all benefit hugely from the influx of tourists, with the added spin-off benefit that these particular visitors are here without adding to the traffic congestion that can clog up the town.

We should all extend a warm welcome to the visitors.

What do you think?

Write to me at or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4 HB.