A group of volunteers on a mission to unite residents in the fight against single-use plastic have launched Plastic Free Worthing.
Nearly 100 people attended Worthing town hall on Saturday, April 13, for the launch of the campaign, which will encourage schools, community groups, businesses and organisations to make three swaps away from single-use plastic.
The Plastic Free Community initiative was launched by Surfers against Sewage, who provide a toolkit with a series of objectives which must be met in order for a town to achieve plastic free status.
More than 440 towns are signed up to the scheme nationwide.
Jean Raleigh, one of the organisers of the event in Worthing who also runs the town’s first zero waste shop, said: “The purpose of the launch was to invite everyone to action; by signing up to the Plastic Free Pledge and by joining the campaign in forming subgroups working within 3 sectors: communities, schools and businesses.
“With small changes all over town, Worthing could be awarded Plastic Free Status within two years.”
Seven businesses were awarded Plastic Free Champion status at the launch event for making at least three swaps away from single use plastics at work – for example straws, cups and bags.
The winners were: South Downs Leisure, South by West, Ceres Health Food Shop, Larder, Clear Mind Pampering, Green Fingers Florests and Activus.
One of the speakers at the launch was Oliver Sterno from Plastic Free Eastbourne, who inspired the crowd by telling the story of how far Eastbourne was on its journey towards becoming plastic-free – particularly in working with the hospitality sector, with small changes like swapping away from the use of plastic sachets.
Other speakers included Francesca Illife, who described how Adur and Worthing Council were following the Plastic Free Toolkit in their workplaces after pledging to become a single use plastic-free council.
Ann Thwaites of the Marine Conservation Society gave a valuable insight into the diversity of Kingmere, the Marine Conservation Zone just off the coast of Worthing.
A short film about the problems of plastic pollution was aired and an introduction to the UK wide campaign for Plastic Free Communities by Surfers against Sewage was presented.
There was also a stall run by the Sussex Cloth Nappy Library.
Plastic Free Worthing comes under the umbrella of the Transition Town Worthing, which supports grass roots projects that increase self sufficiency and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
To find out more, visit the Plastic Free Worthing Facebook page by searching @plasticfreeWorthing