West Somerset is currently on a mission to become a plastic free hotspot, with Porlock Vale being the latest to be awarded Plastic Free Community Status!
Following the achievements of Minehead and Watchet in April 2021, Porlock Vale have joined them in being awarded Plastic Free Community Status as part of the Plastic Free Community Campaign by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). The campaign encourages communities across the UK to minimise the consumption of single-use plastic by involving individuals, local businesses, schools, and community groups.
In 2020, the 4R’s Waste Reduction in Porlock Vale group formed with an aim to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle waste in the parishes in Porlock Vale, which spans as far as Wootton Courtenay to Culbone. With support of the parish councils in Porlock Vale and their Coastal Communities Team, this volunteer led group have received funding from Somerset County Council for the Plastic Free Initiative, as well as water refill points and a repair café which are both soon to be introduced. The group is also grateful for support and advice from the Somerset Wildlife Trust, Plastic Free Minehead and Plastic Free Watchet.
To achieve the Plastic Free Community Award, Porlock Vale have teamed up with local businesses and community groups in the area, as well as St Dubricius Church of England First School, who have just registered with the SAS Plastic Free Schools educational programme.
Local businesses have been setting a leading example in their commitment to reducing waste, each being awarded Business Champion status by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).
Examples of their efforts include: Porlock Fayre introducing refillable glass bottles for milk; Porlock Home and Hardware changing products to biodegradable alternatives; Cross Lane House and Dunkery Beacon Hotel replacing plastic packaged goods with refillable glass containers; Church Gate Gallery substituting plastic packaging for paper and cardboard; Wootton Courtenay Stores using paper bags, selling loose vegetables, and encouraging customers to use their own reusable bags.
John and Jane from Dunkery Beacon Hotel – “This is wonderful news and we’re very proud to have achieved this accolade as it’s not about us, but is for looking after our environment and the beautiful countryside we live in.”
Dunkery Beacon Hotel
Community Allies who have signed up include Porlock Gardening Tips, Porlock Baby Group, Porlock Vale Tourist Association, Sustainable Wootton Courtenay and Plastic Free Exmoor, who also hope to be awarded plastic free status in the coming months.
Stephen Colson – Community Lead for Plastic Free Porlock Vale says “The positive response we’ve had from all kinds of members of our community has been amazing. And we’re learning just how much people are already doing to reduce the impact of plastic in our beautiful environment.”
Stephen, Community lead for Plastic Free Porlock, and Rob Steering Group Member.
Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Manager, said: “It’s great to see the work that these communities in West Somerset and Exmoor have done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.”
“Every step they 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.”
You can find out more about Plastic Free Communities in West Somerset and get involved by visiting their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/plasticfreecommunitieswestsomerset or their Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/plasticfreeminehead/
For interviews and further information please contact Stephen Colson via firstname.lastname@example.org
Images are attached for use with this news release. They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited. More images available on request.
Notes to editors:
Plastic Free Porlock Vale, Community Lead Stephen Colson: email@example.com
Plastic Free Porlock Vale, Communications and Social Media Lead, Ella Keal: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single use. Their Using the five point plan the aim is to empower communities to kick start local grassroots action, which can then be built upon.
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. Plastic Free Communities is an ambitious community initiative designed to unite and empower individuals, small businesses, local government and community groups to reduce their collective plastic footprint and protect the environment together. Driven by inspirational local volunteers, SAS are building a new and exciting community movement tackling single-use plastics and plastic litter in our villages, towns, cities and rural locations. This highly inclusive initiative, created for all ages and backgrounds, is designed to get the whole community active and do something positive to reduce the amount of plastic in the local environment. We believe that united communities lead to cleaner beaches, streets, parks and riverbanks.
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.
About 4R’s Waste Reduction in Porlock Vale Group
The 4Rs project is the result of a collaboration between Porlock Parish Council, the Porlock Vale Coastal Communities Team and local volunteers. It is a grass roots, community-based activity aiming to reduce waste by focusing on each of the areas of “reduce, reuse, repair and recycle”. Plastic Free Porlock Vale is one aspect of this work, which includes installation of water refill points and the establishment of a pop-up Repair Café.
About Somerset Wildlife Trust – www.somersetwildlife.org
Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving Somerset’s wild places for over 50 years and, with over 20,000 members, is the largest conservation charity in the county. Alongside our members and volunteers, we work year-round to protect wildlife, transform landscapes and put nature back into people’s lives.
The majority of our work is made possible through the support of our members and people who live and work in the county who choose to make donations, fundraise for us or leave generous legacies. By working together with our members and supporters we really can make a difference.