Single-use plastic: 'Fish and chips must help save our seas'

By Jared Lawthom
BBC Wales

  • Published
Matthew Williams outside the Crispy Cod
Image caption,
Matthew Williams hopes to win Fish and Chip shop of the year

An award-winning fish and chip shop has called for takeaways to do more to protect the seas.

The Crispy Cod in Tonyrefail, Rhondda Cynon Taff, plans to eliminate plastic bags and polystyrene packaging from the shop.

It kicked off its efforts by launching a competition for school pupils to design a logo for its new paper bags.

The takeaway was recently crowned best fish and chip shop in Wales by industry body Seafish.

As owner Matthew Williams, 36, prepares to compete at the National Fish & Chip Awards, he wants to use the opportunity to make fish and chips more environmentally friendly.

"People need to start looking at what they're buying. It's not good enough to say the cheaper the better any more," he said.

"21st Century fish and chips is changing and it needs to.

"As much as I loved the days of a cheap fish and chips in a paper bag on the beach, things have changed now. We have a bigger responsibility.

Image source, Matthew Williams/BBC
Image caption,
Ellie Wales, 11 from Treorchy Primary school won best design for the Crispy Cod's paper bag

"We have to start thinking about who catches the fish, what's put into the meat and what happens to the packaging and wrapping when we're done with it. And that's what we're trying to do."

He opened the fish and chip shop in 2008 with business partner Ryan Hughes, 25, after quitting his career as a chef.

"It's a way of life rather than just a job," he said.

"I love catering. I love food. I love cooking. But I also love my family and becoming my own boss gave me the chance to spend time with my children as they grow up."

And he has gained many notable customers including the Wales rugby team, boxer Anthony Joshua and H from Steps.

They have now opened a second shop in nearby Gelli.

Mr Williams said: "We're up against nine other chip shops from across the UK, but me and Ryan have put our blood, sweat and tears into this, so we're hoping the hard work will pay off."

Image caption,
The National Fish & Chip Awards 2019 by Seafish, UK top 10 finalists