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Friday, December 7, 2018

Llan celebrates its plastic-free achievements

* Mair Davies, second from left, with representatives of some of the businesses who have become official Plastic-Free Champions and civic leaders at the presentation ceremony in the Town Hall.

Llangollen has joined a network of communities across the UK which are leading the way on tackling
throw-away plastics.

The town has been awarded Plastic Free Community status by Surfers Against Sewage in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of throwaway plastics.

And, to celebrate, 10 local businesses have been honoured as Plastic-free Champions.

During a ceremony at the Town Hall this week Courtyard CafĂ©, Pro Adventure, Taylors Catering (Llangollen Railway), Oak Street Coffee Shop, Manor House, Llan Valley Natural Products, Zingiber Wholefoods, Porter's Deli, Pretty Vintage Tearoom and M'Eating Point each received special awards from Mair Davies who co-ordinates Llangollen's drive to reduce plastic waste.

Mair, from Friends of the Earth Llangollen, launched the campaign earlier this year after starting her own journey to reduce plastic waste.

Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, she pulled together key players and businesses in the town to put in place a five-point plan to start reducing the impact of plastics on the local environment.

The objectives include setting up a community led steering group, instigating the Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.

 “The whole campaign has been a very positive experience, it has been a joy to see the community come together with a shared wish to do their bit,” said Mair. 

“There has been a wide variety of ways that businesses have pledged to do to reduce plastic use, from Ditching the Straw, changing to paper bags, bulk buying, refilling containers, removing single serve items, ditching plastic cutlery and removal of plastic packaging.”

“She added: "There have been a wide variety of events in Llangollen to help reduce plastic in the town, from coffee mornings to litter picks and group talks to help empower people to make the change.

“It has been so nice to see how unifying this issue has been and how it affects all areas within the town, from The Town Council, Cittislow Llangollen, Chamber of Trade, the local Schools and the numerous community groups in the area.

“We couldn’t be more elated at getting Plastic Free Status for the town and being the first town in Denbighshire to get this award. Together we have made great strides to help safeguard nature and the beauty within this beautiful town, but more can be done.

"Of course Llangollen isn’t completely plastic free, but this is recognition of the steps that the community has already made to help reduce the negative impact of plastic.” 

The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single-use.

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, Plastic Free Communities Project Officer at Surfers Against Sewage, said: “It’s great to see the work that Llangollen has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.

“We now have almost 400 communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment. E

"Every step those communities and the individuals in them take is a step to tackle the problem at source, challenging our throwaway culture and encouraging the habit changes we need to see.”

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