Caversham has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at source. The community 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.
Plastic Free Caversham, founded in 2019 by local business owner Anne-Marie Evans and former Deputy Mayor Ayo Sokale, aims to work alongside local residents, businesses and schools to assist them in becoming more sustainable and reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.
Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, the team pulled together key organisations and businesses in the town 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.
The group has organised a number of events in the community, including litter picks, a mass unwrap at a local supermarket in 2019 and a festive family fun day, with lots of plastic free activities for local families to enjoy in December 2021. They have also raised funds for both Surfers Against Sewage and a new water refill station in central Caversham, which is now at advanced stages of planning and will be coming later in 2022.
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.
Well done Caversham!
Anne-Marie Evans, co-founder of Plastic Free Caversham, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this status and can’t thank the community enough for pulling together and supporting us on this journey. From residents attending events and supporting our fundraising, through to the tangible commitments made by so many local businesses and community groups, it’s been a real community effort to get here”.
Former Deputy Mayor Ayo Sokale, co-founder of Plastic Free Caversham, said: “It’s brilliant to have received this status after everyone’s hard work but we know it’s an ongoing journey to ensure that we continue to uphold this status and continue to reduce reliance on single-use plastics in Caversham and beyond.”
Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Manager, said: “It’s great to see the work that Caversham 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.”
For more information Plastic Free Communities and how you can start your own, visit www.plasticfree.org.uk