The North Wales seaside town of Prestatyn has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at source.
The town has been awarded Plastic-Free Community status by the marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.
Prestatyn Rotary Club, the local business forum and town council started the campaign last year after more evidence emerged about the catastrophic effect plastic was having on our planet and in particular to the marine world.
As a coastal town, leading organisations in the Denbighshire town said they could see the impact and felt a stand had to be taken to actively reduce plastic consumption, promote recycling and responsible disposal of single use plastics.
The Plastic Free Prestatyn steering group pulled together key organisations and businesses 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.
Prestatyn Rotarian Peter Dop, Community Lead for the Plastic-Free Prestatyn Steering Group said: “The community backing has been extraordinary, supporting events, circulating information and taking an active interest in the progress towards Plastic-Free Status.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported the initiative and who’s enthusiasm will no doubt make more positive changes Prestatyn.
“We exceeded the target for business participation, through promotion at the Business Forum and business engagement, more and more businesses are wanting to be actively involved.
“Many businesses had already made conscious decisions not to use single use plastic within their shops, whilst others have made significant changes to the products and packaging they use.”
The community backing has been extraordinary, supporting events, circulating information and taking an active interest.”
Peter pointed out how there are now over 600 communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment.
“Every step those communities and the individuals in them 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,” he added.
“Prestatyn is thrilled to receive Plastic-Free Status. The achievement reflects the hard work of businesses, schools and community members.
“This is an ongoing journey, and by raising the profile of the Plastic-Free movement in Prestatyn, we endeavour to increase the numbers of participation, encouraging more businesses and community members to reduce single use plastic.”
Peter Dop and his fellow Rotarians have organised several beach cleans, with the largest being held in June.
Kiko Matthews, the environmental champion and social entrepreneur, supported the event during her epic round-Britain beach clean.
Alongside Kiko, 85 community members volunteered their time and jointly took 228kg of rubbish off Central Beach.