The Plastic Free Communities initiative from Surfers Against Sewage started out as a beach cleaning programme which has grown to look at the sources of the plastic waste, largely single-use plastic, ending up on our beaches. We are a long way from the sea in Ampthill, but plastic litter from our streets spoils our environment, harms wildlife, and will end up in our drains and streams and then in our rivers and in the sea and on our beaches. Our choices about packaging and what we do with it have an impact beyond our own homes and lifestyles.
ACCG has registered Ampthill with the Plastic Free Communities Initiative. That doesn't mean we have no plastic or use no plastic, it means we start to work as a community to reduce our use of single-use plastic and plastic packaging. It is early days yet, but all those who have helped with litter picking know that dealing with litter is about the sources of the litter as well as the behaviour that generates it. And how much of what we pick up is plastic waste!
Ampthill Climate Change Group will be supporting and working with Plastic Free Ampthill to have our town accredited as a Plastic Free Community. This is not just a paper exercise; we will need help from you all to help achieve Plastic Free Status! Local shops, restaurants, pubs and businesses, schools, youth groups such as Scouts and Guides, places of worship and individuals can all be part of this initiative and help us reduce single use plastic in our area.
In fact, Ampthill area has made a start already; with the refill service being offered by more than one source. We have The Green Pantry (www.greenpantry14.co.uk) and Re-phils (Re-phil's - Zero Waste, Delivery Service) both operating in the Ampthill area and at both Waitrose and Tesco you can take your own containers to the meat, fish and deli counters to avoid having to use plastic wrapping. We all remember to keep re-using our carrier bags, and many people now have their own re-usable cups for take-away drinks: making new habits is what it’s all about. We can say No Thank You to plastic stirrers and straws and condiment sachets, we can buy refills for cleaning materials, we can think of alternatives to balloons when it’s party time and check that our wrapping paper is recyclable, we can choose unwrapped fruit and vegetables at the supermarket.
There’s so much more that we can do and it can be creative, fun, and family friendly as well as focussed. From community events, to speaking to or writing to local businesses; if you’re passionate about this issue there WILL be a way for you to contribute!