A leading College in Cornwall has introduced a wave of environmental improvements and initiatives aimed at reducing single-use plastics and creating a cleaner environment for Cornwall.

Truro and Penwith College is joining the growing global movement looking to reduce the amount of plastics and waste being washed up on our shores through sustainability champions at each of the College’s campuses in Truro and Penwith.

The training restaurant at Penwith College, Senara, has led the charge with support to help Penzance become the first location in the UK to meet the criteria for Plastic Free Coastlines (PFC).

Senara has worked to help achieve PFC status for Penzance by introducing biodegradable cups, containers and straws within the restaurant, and has undertaken beach cleans with students. The restaurant even recycles bar milk into ricotta to use in the kitchen to increase sustainability, and is currently working with milk supplier Trink Dairy to switch its milk supply from plastic bottles to reusable glass bottles.

Jaime Gaspare, catering lecturer at the College, said: “We recently undertook a beach clean and plan to implement this into tutorials once a month. We are fully supportive of Surfers Against Sewage and have also joined the campaign to support The Final Straw.”

After successfully completing the Five Objective Guidelines in the SAS Plastic Free Coastlines (PFC) toolkit in early December, Penzance has become the first location in the UK to meet the criteria to be awarded this prestigious recognition.

At the Truro College Spires restaurant, students and staff have removed single-use-plastics from the restaurant, and have replaced them with compostable paper cups, biodegradable take away containers and cutlery. Spires also now stocks re-sealable cans of water in its Coffee Shop and Pizzeria. The cans are made from Aluminium and are 100% recyclable, with the aim to stop people buying plastic water bottles.

Students from across Truro and Penwith College are also doing their bit to help the environment. Foundation Studies students have recently completed a beach clean at Porthtowan beach and have also taken part in a litter picking exercise around the Truro College site.

Theresa Edwards, Foundation Studies team leader, said that: “Throughout the term the students are learning all about the environment and recycling. Mainly about rubbish on the beaches and in the countryside and how to combat it. They completed a beach clean in Porthtowan, a College litter picking exercise and they will be completing a countryside clean up this week.”

The College is also making plans to switch to more sustainable materials throughout its internal catering operation. Maggie Ward, Commercial Services Manager at the College, says: “We now use cardboard instead of polystyrene on a large part of the site and have recently introduced re-usable mugs in our University Centre.”

Spires Coffee Bar in Truro city centre has also taken steps to improve sustainability by switching to biodegradable take-away mugs and cutlery. They also offer a re-usable Travel Mug to encourage customers to reduce their plastic waste.

Those interested in reducing their own plastic footprint and help to create plastic free coastlines, can visit www.plasticfree.org.uk to download a Plastic Free Coastlines Individual Action Plan.