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Cough, cough. 
Our governments have lost their voice at a critical stage in the plastics treaty talks. Help them clear their throats and speak up, by sending them a remedy they can't ignore.

Big polluters and vested interests are resisting efforts to develop a world-changing plastics treaty. This is a critical moment, yet the 64 countries calling themselves the ‘High Ambition Coalition’ are failing to speak up together when we need them most. They’ve gone quiet. We can only assume they’ve lost their voice!

Our own government is part of this Coalition, and could use its influence to make sure the group speaks boldly together. For people living in poverty, forced to live and work among mountains of plastic pollution, there is no time to waste. 

Join us in posting the UK Government a remedy – herbal tea, lemons, ‘get well soon’ cards – to help them find the Coalition’s lost voice today!

Here's a quick video guide on how to send a lemon (or other remedy). For more detailed instructions see the steps explained below.

A man in a yellow Tearfund t-shirt stands in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, UK holding a lemon. Image: Tom Price/Tearfund.

We know what you're thinking: ‘Why a lemon?’

We are at a critical stage of the plastics treaty talks. Unless we see urgent action from the High Ambition Coalition to defend the progress made so far, it could quickly be undone. With ministers receiving hundreds of letters and emails all the time, we need to do something that cuts through the noise and gets people talking, from the post room through to the minister’s office. An email probably wouldn't do that, but a whole bunch of our remedies, including lemons, herbal teas and cough sweets? That would. It's unusual enough to get their attention, and, when combined with honey and hot water, should help to cure the High Ambition Coalition’s sore throat! 

Just follow these three steps to take action now:

1. Prepare your remedy

For the biggest impact, send a remedy of your choice. It could be some herbal tea, an actual lemon (for use in making a lemon and honey drink!) or an alternative of your choice. Alternatively, you could print our ‘recipe card’ template or make your own paper lemon cut-out and write your best remedy for recovering a lost voice. 

Option 1: Send a remedy:

Find or buy your herbal tea bag, lemon or equivalent remedy, and an envelope or box. 

Option 2: Send a ‘recipe card’:

Download and print our recipe card template or make your own lemon cut-out from paper.

2. Write your message

Write a message to Steve Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Environment (DEFRA), on a piece of paper (or your ‘recipe card’).

You can write as little or as much as you like. It could be as simple as:

‘Dear Steve Barclay MP, 
The plastics treaty talks are at a critical stage, but the High Ambition Coalition are not speaking up together at the negotiations. I can only assume they’ve lost their voice! 
So I’m sending you this [lemon/tea bag/recipe] for you to help the coalition recover from their sore throat.
Please use your influence to encourage the coalition to speak up before it’s too late! #RubbishCampaign.’

Don’t forget to include your name and our #RubbishCampaign hashtag. You can also tell them why you care about reducing plastic pollution. If you’d like to, you can include your contact details and ask for a response. Pop your message and lemon (and/or chosen remedy) in your envelope or packaging ready for sending.

3. Send via mail and/or social media

To maximise the impact, we’re inviting you to send your message via physical mail and/or social media. If you can do both, even better! 


Send your remedy and message to:

Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP
DEFRA, Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London, SW1P 3JR

If you’re sending the ‘recipe card’, tea bag, lemon cut-out or similar, simply send in a stamped envelope. If you’re sending an actual lemon, it will probably cost around £3.49 to post as a small parcel with Royal Mail. They advise good packaging to prevent damage and writing ‘perishable’ on the outside. (Full recommendations here). You can also use other shipping companies, such as Evri. Please avoid creating any plastic waste with your packaging.

Please let us know that you’ve taken action by emailing [email protected] so that we can have a good idea of how many letters DEFRA will have received.

Social media:

Take a photo of your lemon, or other remedy, and your message and then share it on social media. Be sure to tag @DefraGovUK on X (Twitter) or @defrauk on Instagram as well as @Tearfund, and use the hashtag #RubbishCampaign


You're done!

Please share this action with your family, friends and church. The more voices that call on the High Ambition Coalition to do the right thing, the more chance we have of transforming the lives of people in poverty.

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