Join the Refill Revolution as Golowan Goes Green!

Plastic Free Penzance and Golowan organisers are calling on thousands of festival-goers to take four simple steps to help reduce the impact of the town’s biggest weekend. Mazey Day and Quay Fair Day are the climax of the week long festival of music and arts, which will see 90 performances across the town alongside the traditional parades, art exhibitions, workshops and family events.

This year’s theme is Golowan Goes Green, to reflect organisers’ determination to reduce the environmental impact of the festival. Building on last year’s trial projects, a host of initiatives and activities are taking place to encourage visitors to Reduce, Refill and Rethink.

Festival director Linda McKechnie said: “The Golowan team wants to do all it can to support the work of Plastic Free Penzance and to build upon the initiatives taken last year to help reduce the amount of plastic generated during the event.  We call upon all festival participants and visitors to do the same by taking the four steps as suggested here by Plastic Free Penzance.”

In order to help reduce single-use plastic and waste at the festival, organisers no longer provide single-use water bottles. Instead there will be a water refill point for parade participants with recyclable cups as a back up for those who forget their refill bottle. In addition there are more than a dozen Refill Cornwall points across the town where people can get free water top ups, just look out for window signs or on the Refill Cornwall app.

Continuing the refill theme, the Golowan Festival Cup scheme has been extended to include more locations and half pint cups. Organisers have upped the amount available this year, but don’t want to continue buying more and are urging people to reuse a festival cup or refill tumbler from home if they have one. It’s estimated at least 18,000 single-use plastic cups were saved through the scheme last year and it’s hoped for an even bigger reduction this year. Participating venues are:


  • Big Tow Golowan Marquee
  • The Dolphin Tavern
  • The Dock Inn
  • The Globe
  • The Star Inn
  • The Lugger Inn
  • The Turk’s Head
  • The Frontroom
  • The Crown Inn
  • The Cornish Barn
  • Black’s
  • Pica Rico
  • The Alverne

Golowan organisers were the first to implement Penzance’s new Plastic Free Events Charter,which has been sent to every trader attending the weekend and asks them not to supply carrier bags, balloons and plastic cutlery. It also outlines an expectation that traders will look at refill and reuse schemes and sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic. While the Charter cannot be enforced, it sets out the town’s stance on responsible practice and it’s hoped it will set a green standard which will encourage traders to do the right thing for the town and its environment.

While street pedlars selling balloons can’t be stopped and don’t come under any contracts or agreements, they have all been made aware of the town’s stance on single-use plastic and the damage balloons can cause to the environment. Statistics show one marine animal dies every 30 seconds from plastic pollution , recent research showed one in five seabirds who died from plastic pollution had eaten balloons. Helium is also a finite gas, which needs to be conserved across the globe and as such helium balloons are an unnecessary waste of precious resources.

Waste management has been improved at the festival this year with more mixed recycling bins being made available and new skip bins at key locations. A message is going out to all visitors to use the bins properly and dispose of waste responsibly. Plastic Free Penzance will have teams of litter pickers in key coastal locations over the weekend but stress that individuals need to take more responsibility for what they are using and how they dispose of it. The message from the community volunteer group is that if we don’t create so much waste, we don’t have to get rid of it – or find it lying around the streets or in the ocean.

As such, an awareness campaign has been running encouraging people to take these four simple steps to reduce impact at the festival:

  1. Join the Refill Revolution!
  • Use a refill water bottle
  • Use a refill drinks cup
  • Bring your own bags

  1. Be Brilliant People … and bin it properly!
  • Use the rubbish bins
  • Put plastic, cans, card and paper in the mixed recycling bins
  • If all else fails … bag rubbish and take it home

  1. Do Things Differently
  • Say no to plastic tat and balloons
  • Bring your own container and cutlery for food on the go
  • Get the bus, the train or ride a bike in to town

  1. Remember that we’re all in this together …
  • We love Penzance, especially Golowan!
  • We want a clean town and ocean for all living things
  • We can change things … if we all take responsibility and do our bit

Plastic Free Penzance Community Lead Rachel Yates said: “There is no getting away from the fact that there will be single-use, avoidable plastic at this year’s festival. But what we are hoping is that the reduction we saw last year continues, and that we see another big reduction in impact this year as a result of the new initiatives we have been working on with Golowan organisers.


She added “Penzance is a beautiful, vibrant town and this is one of our key moments to shine. We led the way in the UK becoming the first Plastic Free Communities Approved location for our work to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. We aim to continue to show how a community can work together to change things for the better. But that needs everyone to take responsibility for what they use and buy, and how it’s disposed of.”

For more information contact Rachel Yates on [email protected] or Linda McKechnie on [email protected]

Find out more about Golowan and get a copy of the programme here

Find out more about Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities here

Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Communities

Plastic Free Communities exist to free where we live from single-use. They bring people together on a journey to tackle avoidable single-use plastic, from the beach all the way back to the businesses and brands who create it. It’s not about removing all plastic from our lives. It’s about kicking our addiction to throwaway single-use plastic, and changing the system that produces it.



Fishing Line Recycling Comes to Penzance

Another blog post … another Community Ally! This time a really important one to help tackle all the ghost fishing gear we pick up day after day on our beaches and coastline. We get lots of questions asking what we are doing about fishing nets and lines found washed up and how are we tackling the fishing industry. Here’s a few insights into what work is happening and how you can help

Our latest ally sign up involves the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme, who are doing amazing work around the UK installing line recycling bins at key businesses and locations. Collected line then goes to specialist recycling to make things like traffic cones, sun glasses, skateboards, wetsuits and even swimwear.

At the moment we have two business in Penzance signed up with bins, Mermaid Fishing Tackle and Newtown Angling outside of town on the A394 to Helston, and they take three types of line:

  • Nylon Monofilament

  • Braided lines / Fly backing

  • Fly Lines

But we are excited that our initial conversations could lead to trials of other types of line, particularly single use crab lines … which can pose a problem in the harbour over the summer months. We know that many of you are now regularly picking up marine plastic pollution on your walks and trips to the coast … and we’d love it if you could now drop any of the above line into the two collection points we have so far. We’ll keep you updated on plans for crab lines!

Credit: JoJo Harper

What about the bigger bits of net? Where do they go? We are lucky to live in Cornwall where innovation is pretty hot and awesome people care! There are several organisations working to collect ghost fishing gear and we are also home to ocean plastic recycling project ‘Odyssey Innovation’, founded by Rob Thomson from Fathoms Free. The project works with the Ocean Recovery Project, charities, NGOs, government bodies, the fishing industry, recyclers, manufacturers … the list goes on … to find long-term solutions which focus on a circular economy. Basically put – right now Rob collects ghost gear and makes kayaks out of it!

We contribute by getting as much ghost gear as we can to collection points, through our Community Allies such as Marine Discovery and Ocean High and also through our local Fishing For Litter point at Newlyn Harbour. Check here for more information on Fishing For Litter, a great organisation focusing on the fishing industry and how it can reduce plastic pollution.

These links are in early stages and once the storms return in the Autumn we hope to make full use of our new links and repurpose or recycle even more of the plastic pollution we pick up on our beach cleans. Please do come along and support us!