Bodmin 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.
Communities are not expected to be completely ‘plastic free’ to gain this status, but the initiative encourages and supports communities to take positive steps towards dramatically reducing single use plastics by setting objectives and requirements. Any individual or group can sign up via the ‘plastic free communities’ website and volunteer themselves to begin a community’s mission to gain ‘plastic free approved status’ from SAS.
Bodmin’s journey began when Beth Woolley started the campaign in 2021 after struggling to source plastic free items during lockdown. Beth decided that rather than complain, she would use her frustration to try and make a change locally.
Beth has been extremely eager to express how this is a community achievement. It may be something she started, but it is something that couldn’t have been accomplished without a huge number of proactive supporters in the town.
Beth told Bodmin Life, “It’s about the community. What needs to be shown is the commitment from the town. Without them there isn’t a ‘plastic free’ Bodmin. Businesses like Celtic Produce with their refills and the commitment from Oggy Oggy Pasty Company, Discovering 42 and Snail’s Pace café, are making a real and tangible difference.”
After registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, Beth began to pull together key organisations and businesses in the town to put a five-point plan in place. 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.
Bodmin Town Council’s support has been integral in securing the plastic free status with thanks to Cllr Pete Skea for being a particularly proactive supporter. They have pledged to reduce single use plastic within the local council, and they will soon be rolling out an events charter that will help advise on how to reduce single use plastics for anyone or organisation putting on larger scale events in the town.
The project has seen an incredible amount of ‘Community Allies’ which have also been an essential part of this achievement. These are businesses, schools and community groups that have pledged their support of the project and then made small changes or wish their own inspiring work to contribute to the success of the campaign.
This includes, for example, the Rotary’s reduction of single use plastic at events, all the wonderful things happening at The Curious School of the Wild and the persistent good work from the ‘Bodmin Tidy it Team’.
Beth has been delighted by the overwhelming response from a diverse range of groups in Bodmin and describes it as, “inspiring community action”. Currently there are over 25 Bodmin based community groups, businesses and organisations signed up as supporters of the project.
Congratulations to all of those involved for their contribution and success in gaining Bodmin this status.
Follow ‘Plastic Free Bodmin – News’ on Facebook and Instagram @plasticfreebodmin. If you are a business, community group or individual and wish to get involved, contact Beth at: email@example.com.
For more information about the campaign visit: https://sas.org.uk/plastic-pollution/plastic-free-communities/.