Apr 4, 2019 | BY Tasmin Chilcott
Anglesey is the First County to be Awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status as it Takes Action on Single-Use Plastic.
Anglesey has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way on tackling throw away plastic. The county 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.
Local Sian Sykes, the Surfers Against Sewage Rep for Anglesey started the campaign last year before she set off on her epic record breaking circumnavigation of Wales on a stand up paddleboard to highlight the issues of plastic pollution. The expedition was single use plastic free and she inspired communities to make a pledge against plastic. Sian got involved with Surfers Against Sewage after moving back home to Wales and saw the effects of plastic pollution.
Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, Sian Sykes pulled together key organisations and businesses in the county 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.
Miss Sykes said “I’m so proud to be involved in such a positive movement to rid unnecessary single-use plastics from Anglesey. I am absolutely delighted that the community of Anglesey has helped our island achieve this great status. It has been a real pleasure to inspire and educate individuals, businesses, schools, and organisations to get involved and make positive changes. The community is so passionate about doing their bit to support the environment and to make Anglesey a sustainable island of Wales.
It is wonderful to see businesses moving away from disposable plastic items by not offering it to consumers or by finding suitable alternatives such as using cardboard take away boxes, wooden cutlery, paper bags, and glass bottles.
I have recently held a series of mass unwrap events on Anglesey to highlight the issue of plastic packaging and the support during these events has been fantastic. It is superb to see the community coming together to help with highlighting the issue, a wonderful grassroots movement.
We are making a difference and I am excited to see what else we can do on the island, this is only the beginning and I encourage more individuals, businesses, and organisations to get involved. I now hope this will also inspire others to make positive changes to combat the issue of plastic pollution and the throw away society we have become. “
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.
The Isle of Anglesey County Council committed its support to gaining ‘Plastic Free Status’ for Anglesey in February 2018.
Councillor Dafydd Rhys Thomas has been at the forefront of efforts to promote Anglesey as a plastic free community, and also sits on Anglesey’s Plastic Free Steering Group.
Cllr Thomas explained, “As a resident of the seaside village of Trearddur Bay and a keen coastal walker, this is a subject very close to my heart. I see so much plastic washed up on our beaches whilst out walking and decided to bring this matter before the County Council last year after meeting with Sian. I was delighted that my fellow Anglesey councilors made a huge statement in backing efforts to gain plastic free status for the Island.”
“The Council has since been working towards reducing the use of disposable plastic at its own sites and schools; promoting plastic free ventures and encouraging local businesses to use less disposable plastic.”
“We have also worked in partnership with Anglesey Central Lions and the Sign Factory, on the Mona Industrial Estate, to produce a special “Pick Up Plastic” sticker, which have been placed on litter bins around local beaches.”
Cllr Thomas added, “To receive confirmation today that Anglesey has become the first county in the UK to be awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities Status’ by Surfers Against Sewage is fantastic news. The work will continue, however, as we still have a great deal to do in order to tackle throw away plastic which is so damaging to the environment.”
Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Officer, said: “It’s great to see the work that Anglesey county has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.
“We have over four 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 changes we need to see.”
Sian Sykes Community Lead, Plastic Free Anglesey: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07928 475419