The Lady Bay area of West Bridgford has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at source.
Lady Bay 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.
Rushcliffe councillors Sue and Richard Mallender, who have been committed to reducing waste for many years, started the campaign.
Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, the Lady Bay Steering Group pulled together key organisations and businesses in the community to put in place a five-point plan.
The objectives include; setting up a community led steering group, linking with 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.
Community Lead Dr Monica Pallis said:
“More and more people are realising that plastic waste affects everybody.
“There’s even microplastic in rain now. I’m so pleased that so many Lady Bayers are willing to do something about it and to back this initiative from Surfers Against Sewage”
Each Community Group Ally and Business Champion chooses to eliminate three items of single use plastic.
By far the most popular actions are those that involve refilling.
Many Lady Bayers have pledged to refill water bottles, buy milk in returnable glass bottles and buy refills for shampoo, soap and cleaning products at local Business Champion The Good Weigh.
Many are also buying loose fruit and veg from there, and so eliminating plastic wrappings.
Local Café Bread and Butterflies provides the community with homemade cooking on China plates, accompanied by loose tea.
They too show us what’s possible.
And so do the Lady Bay Pop up café, showing us that take away packaging does not have to be plastic.
The Poppy and Pint use refill soap and cleaning products and sell water in glass bottles. Marion at Lady Bay Blooms creates beautiful flower arrangements that have no need of plastic wrappings.
Plastic Free Lady Bay has also held community events. They had a Rubbish Fashion Show at the Lady Bay Pub and saw some fantastic outfits as well as singing from the Community Choir. They also held a Mass Unwrap outside the Co-op this Spring to draw attention to unnecessary supermarket packaging.
The award of Plastic Free Community Status was announced at the Lady Bay Community Association’s Annual General Meeting.
Dr Pallis added:
“We acknowledge that we are only at the start of a journey to eliminate plastic waste.
“Plastic production is set to double by 2040 globally, so it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem.
“But there is a lot that can be done locally, and first adopters of lifestyle changes can have a big influence.
“We will continue to support, inform and encourage local groups and businesses to reduce plastic, as Surfers Against Sewage have supported, informed and encouraged us.”
The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single use. Using the five points 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 Manager, said: “It’s great to see the work that Lady Bay 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.”