Concern over global plastic waste and harmful pollution has been big news for a while, and can seem overwhelming. TV programmes have highlighted damage caused to the marine environment and wildlife; research also shows we are all ingesting and breathing in microscopic plastic particles every day.
What can we do as individuals to prevent the increase of plastic pollution? What can we do as a town? Abingdon Carbon Cutters’ sub-group Abingdon Cuts Plastic started in January 2018. We encourage everyone to ” Refuse, Reduce, Refill, Re-use.”
We are affiliated to the national environmental charity “Surfers Against Sewage” (SAS), and in summer 2019 became the 65th UK community to be granted “Plastic-Free” status. Of course, this doesn’t mean there is no single-use plastic in the town, but that there are enough businesses, schools, individuals and community groups committed to reducing their use of plastic. To be granted the status, we had to meet the five SAS objectives, which include having strong links with the Town Council, which now has a Green Scrutiny committee.
Another objective is to take action, eg our twice-yearly river and riverbank clean-ups in conjunction with AbiBinit litter-picking group. 12 businesses are “Plastic-Free Champions”; The shop “Added Ingredients” in Stert Street sells SESI refills of washing up liquid and other cleaning liquids. (See SESI Poster)
We give a talk on “Plastic Pollution and how to reduce it” to schools, Scouts, and any group which requests it. We campaign to get supermarkets and their suppliers to produce less plastic packaging etc; MP Layla Moran supported us by writing to the HQ of each of the 5 supermarkets in Abingdon. Manufacturers and the Government have a big part to play in the reduction of single-use plastic; as consumers we all have influence through our purchasing choices.
Inevitably every household accumulates plastic waste, some of which can be Recycled. Our group is looking into where our recyclable plastic actually ends up: we feel strongly that the UK should dispose of its own waste rather than send any abroad. We are also exploring what best uses can be made of waste plastic.
We are a diverse group, which includes the Mayor of Abingdon: we meet every 4-6 weeks and always welcome visitors or new members.
Please contact Anne at email@example.com.
- Please read this report by Gerry Tissier to read about the horrors of plastic pollution (Jan 2021)
- References and background material for Gerry Tissier’s Plastics report (Jan 2021)
- Anne Smart has made an A to Z of how to avoid plastic (pdf) after attempting to live plastic-free for a year. Alternatively see Anne’s Video, which was presented on 17th March 2021 on our Bright Green Ideas Swap evening.