Prestatyn has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at source. The town has been awarded Plastic Free Community status by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.
Prestatyn Rotary Club, Business Forum and Town Council started the campaign last year after more evidence emerged about the catastrophic effect plastic was having on our planet and in particular to the marine world. As a coastal town we are seeing the impacts and felt that a stand must be taken, to actively reduce plastic consumption, promote recycling and responsible disposal of single use plastics.
Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, the Plastic Free Prestatyn steering group pulled together key organisations and businesses in the town to put in place a five-point plan. The objectives include; setting up a community led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.
Peter Dop, Community Lead, Plastic Free Prestatyn Steering Group said "The community backing has been extraordinary, supporting events, circulating information and taking an active interest in the progress towards Plastic Free Status. Thank you to everyone who has supported the initiative and who’s enthusiasm will no doubt make more positive changes Prestatyn.”
We exceeded the target for business participation, through promotion at the Business Forum and business engagement, more and more businesses are wanting to be actively involved. Many businesses had already made conscious decisions not to use single use plastic within their shops whilst others have made significant changes to the products and packaging they use.
Peter Dop has organised several beach cleans, with the largest being held in June. Kiko Matthews (World Record Holder, Environmental Champion & Social Entrepreneur) supported the event. Alongside Kiko 85 community members volunteered their time and jointly took 228kg of rubbish off Central Beach.
Prestatyn is thrilled to receive Plastic Free Status, the achievement reflects the hard work of businesses, schools and community members. This is an ongoing journey and by raising the profile of the Plastic Free movement in Prestatyn we endeavour to increase the numbers of participation, encouraging more businesses and community members to reduce single use plastic.
The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single-use. Using the five point plan the aim is to empower communities to kick start local grassroots action, which can then be built upon.
The marine conservation charity, based in St Agnes in Cornwall, says it wants to unite communities to tackle avoidable plastic from the beach all the way back to the brands and businesses who create it. It says it is not about removing all plastic from our lives, but kicking our addiction to throwaway plastic and changing the system that produces it.
Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Officer, said: “It’s great to see the work that Prestatyn has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse. We have over six hundred communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment. Every step those communities and the individuals in them take is a step towards tackling the problem at source, challenging our throwaway culture and encouraging the habit and system changes we need to see.”
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