VOLUNTEERS and community leaders have united in Penzance to reduce the collective plastic footprint of the town to achieve Plastic Free status.

After successfully completing the Five Objective Guidelines in the SAS Plastic Free Coastlines (PFC) toolkit, Penzance has become the first location to meet the criteria to be awarded this prestigious recognition in the fight against single use plastics.

The PFC Objectives challenge community, businesses and local government to reduce reliance on single use plastic items, replacing them with sustainable alternatives, educate others toward the threats of plastic pollution and lead community events such as beach cleans and fundraisers.

Penzance gained the accolade of the first SAS Plastic Free Coastlines approved location following a resolution of a town council motion on December 4 to support efforts for Plastic Free Coastlines. The local SAS team have also inspired and assisted 13 businesses in Penzance to remove three or more single-use-plastic items.

Some of these items have been removed entirely and others have been swapped out for eco-friendly alternatives. A steering group has been set up to continue the Plastic Free Coastlines momentum in the area.

The steering group will be meeting regularly to review further positive changes that can be made to reduce the damaging effects plastic can cause to the local and wider marine environment.

Plastic Free Penzance leader, Rachel Yates: “We may have achieved Plastic Free Coastlines status for the town, but the work doesn’t stop here! We have our quarterly meeting later this week and – as well as celebrating – we’ll be setting our targets for next year”

Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive, Surfers Against Sewage: “Surfers Against Sewage is thrilled to help inspire, empower and connect individuals, schools, businesses, activists and councils in locations across the UK looking to reduce their reliance and consumption of single-use plastics. It’s vital that we stop plastic pollution at source to protect our oceans and beaches, and we hope the movement Plastic Free Coastlines Community movement will continue to grow around the world. Congratulations to Penzance for being the first community to achieve the official status!”

There are currently over 90 locations in the UK, Ireland and Portugal that are working tirelessly to achieve Plastic Free Coastlines status. The efforts of the communities to rid themselves of unnecessary single-use plastics are recognition of the upstream thinking to tackle plastic pollution. The public is looking for new ideas beyond the beach clean to protect their environments, and engaging councils and businesses to create collaborative approach.