New Events Charter Announced!

We are pleased to announce that our Plastic Free Penzance Events Charter has been adopted by the town! We have been working with Penzance Town Council and Penzance Business Improvement District to draw up the document, which sets out clear guidelines for anyone wanting to trade at or hold an event so they can reduce their impact.

The Charter is a way to communicate what our community is trying to achieve in terms of tackling single-use plastic. It is hard for us to keep track of absolutely every outdoor event that is planned, let alone then contact each individual organiser and link up in advance. So, by teaming up with the Town Council and BID on event contracts and agreements like this, it give us more scope to tackle single-use plastic and the pollution it causes.

While the Town Council has no powers to enforce any single-use plastic stipulations (other than through its contracts, which it has started doing since it passed the Plastic Free Communities Resolution back in December 2017) it can set out clear expectations. Which is what this new charter does.

Included in it is an expectation that there will be no carrier bags, balloons or plastic cutlery at events or on stalls. It also asks for a focus on refill and reuse (through things like refill cup schemes), that steps be taken to reduce the main ‘offenders’ as set out in our Plastic Free Communities Toolkit and that steps are taken to manage waste effectively and responsibly. The Charter is backed up with a copy of our Business Toolkit to help traders make any changes necessary.

Surfers Against Sewage Community Toolkit
Credit: Surfers Against Sewage Community Toolkit

The first people to receive the Charter will be those wanting a pitch at Golowan and we’re hugely grateful for the support of the Golowan team in getting this guidance out to traders in plenty of time, so they can plan ahead. Traders at the new Monthly Market in the town will also be sent the Charter so they can start to take action.

We are hugely encouraged by this step from our Town Council and BID as they continue to work with us to minimise our community’s contribution to the plastic pollution crisis. Please do support this great document; as a shopper, a local trader or an event organiser. If we all work together and take one step at a time in the right direction, we can create great change!


Egg-cellent Easter Tips!

So another celebration is upon us and with it another chance to ramp up the amount of rubbish going in the bin or ending up in the environment. Here are some of our top tips for reducing packaging and waste this Easter:

  • Put smaller foil wrapped eggs in a re-used basket, tin or decorated egg box
  • Look out for bigger foil wrapped Easter eggs in cardboard or just as they are
  • Check Easter Egg boxes and avoid those with plastic holders and/or plastic wrapped sweets & chocolate inside
  • Keep it local – head to the pick’n’mix at the Weigh Inn for plastic free chocolate and sweets and check out our Plastic Free Champion businesses for more options
  • Lindt Bunnies – recycle the foil and use the ribbon and bell again at Christmas!
  • Get creative – buy chocolate wrapped in foil and cardboard and melt it down to make your own chocolate shapes. Hobbs Kitchen Shop sell re-useable chocolate moulds or you can make your own.
  • Make chocolatey goodies instead, so things like brownies, crispy cakes and rocky road. You can buy ingredients from Penzance’s refill shops and Plastic Free Champions
  • Avoid buying plastic tat. Is it really needed? What will happen to it after it’s been played with for five minutes?
  • Say no to balloons and banners and put up bunting instead.
  • Use cards to make your own Easter Egg Hunt.
  • Recycle card and foil at home with your usual waste collection. If you do end up with plastic check it’s the right type to go in your recycling. If not, it will go in general waste … to be burnt in Cornwall’s incinerator. That’s enough to put us off!

As always, celebrations like this offer us the chance to get together with family and friends and reconnect with what’s important. And at this time of year, with Spring in full swing, what better opportunity to get out and enjoy our wonderful coastline, woods, parks and moors. Let’s take part in wildlife trails, go on bug hunts and get in or on the sea (hopefully also spotting some of our amazing marine life!). Look out for events in the local press and on social media from the likes of Mounts Bay Marine Group, Marine Discovery, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the RSPB.

Let’s give our time and love, go on days out, do Easter egg hunts, catch up with friends and enjoy making stuff with the family. Those memories last forever and leave no trace … other than the odd argument, but that’s all part of it too! Have fun!

Gallery: Big Spring Beach Clean

Wow! First off a HUGE thank you to the 101 volunteers who took part in our first SAS Big Spring Beach Clean events for 2019. We were blessed with the weather on Saturday, and also the help of our four legged friends, as we kick-started a whole morning of action in Mounts Bay with the Paws Against Plastic dog walk and pick up.

Organised by ourselves and Community Allies Regent Court Vets and The Pet Spa, we set off along the coast path from Penzance to Long Rock picking up an array of marine pollution from ghost fishing gear to plastic bottles, cans and food packaging. It was great to see the dogs get just as into it as we were!


After collecting six full reusable sacks of rubbish, we headed to The Hoxton Special to clean the section of beach from Long Rock to Marazion West and to start logging identifiable brands on any packaging we found.

Another 80 people joined us at The Hoxton and we filled another five sacks of ghost fishing gear, plastic bottles and packaging along with some more interesting finds … including Lego from the Tokio Express which shed 4.3 million pieces of the toy off Land’s End in 1997. We were really chuffed to find out that one of our brand new beach cleaners found it!

Our focus of the Big Spring Beach Clean this year is a Brand Audit, to put pressure on industry to take more responsibility over the packaging it dishes out. In between the coffee, BBQ food and tunes at The Hoxton we counted 48 separate brands which we could identify … including Coca Cola, Buxton, Mars and Nestle. This evidence has already been sent to Surfers Against Sewage to help with campaigns and lobbying.

A MASSIVE thank you to very single volunteer who took part and to our Community Allies who teamed up with us to make this an epic effort and a brilliant day out for the whole family. If you missed it and want to get involved, we will be at Jordan’s Cafe to clean up Marazion West on Sunday 14th April. Meet us at 3pm, we’ll kit you up and then we’ll sweep the beach and dunes up to Red River. More details here and check out the gallery below!