PACT has begun a campaign to reduce single-use plastic in and around Penrith.
We’re in the early stages… we’ve held a few informal get-togethers with PACT members and others from the area who are interested in tackling plastic, and we’ve decided on a few projects to take forward.
- Letter to the Herald about Plastics campaign in September 2017
- Letter to the Herald about Refill scheme, December 2017
- Letter to the Herald about the government's Plastic Plans, January 2018
PACT projects to tackle plastic
Refill scheme – This is a network of premises (shops, cafes, etc.) where people can get a reusable bottle filled with tap water. It’s been implemented successfully in Bristol (visit the Refill Bristol website). Potentially this is something we could work with partners across the county on, to establish a 'Refill Cumbria' scheme.
We’ve been in touch with Refill Bristol to find out how they set up their scheme. Meanwhile, one Penrith retailer has already volunteered to pioneer Refill Penrith! Bring your reusable bottle to Beckside Books in St Andrew's Churchyard. Thanks for being the first, Krystl! PACT has received funding from the Cumbria / Eden Waste Prevention Fund to set up a Refill scheme in Penrith - thanks! We're working with other sustainability groups in Cumbria and hope to get action across the county.
The first stage will be to find some places in central Penrith which will be refill points, eg shops, cafes, organisations or businesses. Then we'll launch the scheme to the public. We'll then expand our efforts more widely eg looking at refill points on walking and cycle routes.
Lobbying supermarkets/manufacturers – We’ve begun contacting firms to ask for plastic-free packaging on products. Is there a product you use regularly that could be packaged in something other than plastic? Please write to the manufacturer and encourage them to make the switch. It would be really useful if you could email Nigel from PACT, who’s keeping a log of firms that people have contacted, and what the outcome was. Email: email@example.com.
Wider campaigns – Let’s add our voice to national and international campaigns to drive change on plastic use. We’ve listed a few campaigns you can join in with below, and if you come across others, please let us know.
- Greenpeace campaign on Coke
- 38 Degrees petition to UK supermarkets
- A Plastic Planet campaign for a plastic-free aisle in supermarkets
Non-plastic options locally – We’re creating an online list of places in and around Penrith where you can get products without plastic packaging. Volunteers are doing some research now, and we’ll launch an initial list in early autumn, which you can help us add to!
We’re also looking into bulk-buying discounts on non-plastic alternatives for drinking cups and food containers, and we’ll see if we can encourage Penrith businesses to use them.
Events - PACT is looking into creating or sourcing a code of practice on plastics at events. We’ve been talking to the organisers of a few of Penrith’s big events, as well as other major events around Cumbria, to talk about how they could reduce plastic such as single-use drinks bottles and food containers. We’ve also been in touch with a national body for event organisers and we’re following up leads they’ve given us with people who have done some work around sustainability at events.
Keep up to date
Join our new Facebook group, Friends of PACT, where you can chat about plastics and all-things sustainability.
And join the Plastic-Free Cumbria Facebook group.
Join the list to get our Action on Plastics in Penrith newsletter
Why single-use plastic is a problem
In a nutshell, plastic is having a devastating effect on nature, and it’s now in our food chain, too.
- Only a third of plastic packaging gets recycled in the UK. Most ends up in landfill or gets incinerated or ends up in our oceans - link
- 8 billion tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year, where it’s eaten by marine creatures and breaks down into tiny pieces. One in four fish now has toxins in its flesh due to eating plastic - link
- Plastic fibres are now in the water we drink, too - link
PACT collected 10 bags of litter on a 200m stretch of Ullswater in October 2017, including approx 50 plastic bottles and 100 cans:
Huge amounts of litter have been collected all around our coast, including this gargantuan pile on Skye: