Refill PZ Launches

Penzance Joins the Refill Revolution

A new community refill scheme has launched in Penzance to help locals and visitors avoid single use plastic and support local high street businesses.

Refill Penzance launched this May, to give locals and visitors to Penzance an easy and immediate way to avoid single-use plastic.

The collaboration between Plastic Free Penzance, Sustainable PZ and Penzance Council came about after queries to Plastic Free Penzance asking why there wasn’t a dedicated Refill Shop in the town where people could do the weekly shop, and as the existing community water refill scheme looked to expand to public water fountains.

Community Lead at Plastic Free PZ, Rachel Yates, said:

“At first we thought: ‘Yes, why isn’t there a trendy refill shop? Of all the places there should be one, surely Penzance is it?’ Then we thought again and realised that there isn’t a dedicated refill shop because the town already had refill covered … and has done for years.

“We have so many independent businesses in town who offer refills – from water and takeaway coffee to cleaning products, health & beauty and food shop essentials. We realised the job wasn’t to focus on bringing a new refill shop to Penzance, but to simply shout about and support the businesses we already have.”

The plans for a campaign to raise awareness and support local businesses offering refill coincided with the national Refill App widening its remit to include things like weekly essentials and takeaways. So the team decided it made sense link up and get more PZ businesses on the global app, with the intention again that the can be more easily found by locals and visitors.

Funding from Penzance Council has also enabled awareness raising through local posters and window cards, a social media campaign and an upgrade to the interactive map & business directory on the Sustainable PZ and Plastic Free PZ websites to maximise visibility. The scheme is a continuation of both of those organisations’ work to help protect the environment and enable people to live in a less impactful way, while supporting the local economy.

Penzance Town Mayor, Cllr Jonathan How, said:

“Penzance Council unanimously declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and is committed to leading change in our local community for a more sustainable parish for the future.

“Plastic is threatening the world’s oceans and sea life, and we have all seen the on-going issue of single use plastic (SUP) water bottles as they repeatedly wash up on our local beaches.

“But this is about more than just plastic. The Refill Penzance Scheme will bring together and promote all the businesses in the town centre who are already offering refills to make it more visible and accessible to locals and visitors alike.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. Check out the Refill PZ map to see businesses involved and what’s on offer
  2. Download the Refill App to search on the fly. You can use it across the rest of the UK (in fact the world) to find refill locations
  3. Look out for window cards and posters in shops to indicate they offer refill
  4. Choose to refill water and coffee instead of using single-use bottles and cups
  5. Switch up the weekly shop and buy goods on refill instead of single-use wrapped
  6. Check out our wider Plastic Free Champion Business Directory to see where else you can shop in PZ to reduce plastic
  7. Spread the word to friends and family

The Refill PZ launch comes as work to bring public water fountains to the town picks up pace. In addition to public points being made available at Jubilee Pool and PZ Sailing Club, Plastic Free Penzance have also been liaising with local organisation ‘Our Only W’orld to support a funding bid to bring a water fountains made from recycled ghost fishing gear to the town. Humphry Davy School registered an interest and are now talking with the charity to get the outdoor refill point installed for pupils.

Penzance Council has also agreed, alongside supporting the community refill scheme, to scope out public water fountains on its property, which could possibly see points installed in places like Penlee Park and the Skate Park.

Claire Whitton from Sustainable PZ said:

“Refill is the ultimate action we can take to tackle on plastic pollution and the growing waste mountain. We cannot beach or street clean our way out of the problem. Recycling is a great first step but it doesn’t tackle the root cause either and uses massive resources, with lots of materials difficult or impossible to recycle still.

“Refill solves the problem of plastic pollution and other waste at source. If we don’t use single-use items and packaging in the first place, we don’t have to get rid of them.”

If your business would like to join the scheme please email [email protected]


COVID INFO: If you’d like more on the safety of refill and reuse click here

For more info on Refill PZ contact Rachel on [email protected]

For more info on Penzance Council’s Climate Action Plan go here 

For more info on Sustainable PZ go here:

For more info on Plastic Free PZ go here:

For more info on the SAS Plastic Free Communities campaign go here:

Penzance Joins the Million Mile Clean

Plastic Free Penzance celebrate a return to community clean ups with a beach clean at Long Rock this Sunday. The clean, based from the Hoxton Special, will clock up miles and collect plastic pollution as part of the nationwide Million Mile Clean campaign from Surfers Against Sewage.

After a winter of restrictions due to Covid, Plastic Free PZ says it can’t wait to get back out on the beaches as it re-launches its community clean programme.

The grassroots action group, which is working to tackle single-use plastic in the town, has had to put a hold on its public events for the best part of 15 months. In that time individuals and families were urged to pick up plastic pollution from the coast and green spaces while on walks and taking regular exercise. The call was answered and the group says it’s been blown away by the support and action from locals to keep blue and green spaces clean.

Now the group is finally able to hold a community clean, it is teaming up with Surfers Against Sewage and The Hoxton Special to hold a ‘Million Mile Clean’. The national campaign aims to get 10,000 volunteers cleaning a million miles of UK coast and landscape by the end of the year.

Surfers Against Sewage say: “This campaign reflects and celebrates a national mood of hope and optimism as the country emerges from a dark winter spent in lockdown. Now more than ever, it is crucial for us all to reconnect with the outdoors and the Million Mile Clean provides an opportunity for you to prioritise your health whilst also creating a positive impact on your environment.”

Plastic Free PZ said: “We’re pleased to be able to get back out on the beach with our community events, which don’t only benefit the environment but also provide chance for people to meet, chat and feel part of something positive.

“Clean gloves and kit will be provided but people wanting to come along can bring their own gloves and bags if they prefer. It’s just brilliant to be able to get back out and we’re looking forward to more beach clean events across the rest of the year as we contribute to the Million Mile Clean”

So far 575,000 miles have been committed to the national SAS campaign, with Penzance already holding a clean last weekend at Wherrytown and planning more over the coming months.

You can join this weekend’s clean by heading to the Hoxton Special for 10am on Saturday 29th May. Groups are asked to keep numbers to no more than 6 and children under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Plastic Free PZ are also looking for a volunteer to co-ordinate future beach cleans – if you are interested in getting involved contact Rachel on [email protected]

Notes for Editors:
For more info contact Rachel Yates on  [email protected]

Find out more about Plastic Free Penzance here:

And here:

Find out more about Surfers Against Sewage Million Mile Clean 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.

Post Lockdown Tips

After what feels like a never-ending winter filled with lockdowns, stressful uncertainty, and the pandemic looming over us, it’s safe to say we’ve never been more excited about the summer. As the national restrictions begin to ease and we can start bringing some normality back to our lives, it’s important to think about how this is going to affect the environment.

As much as we’re excited to get back out into nature, see our friends and enjoy the simple delights of a BBQ or family gathering, we are also already devastated to see the effect plastic pollution is having on the coast with overflowing bins and plastic floating in the clean blue sea that we’ve been blessed with this last couple of weeks.

So here are our top tips on how to enjoy post lockdown life and protect the environment at the same time. Because you CAN have it all!

Keeping Beaches Clean

With summer just in sight, everyone is looking forward to getting to the coast and enjoying some much needed Vitamin Sea. As much as we love the beach, we want to keep the coastlines clean and keep plastic pollution to a minimum.

Our top tips for a clean beach:

Take a packed lunch – if you are taking food to the beach, try to pack a lunch in reusable containers that you can take home after. That way you won’t have leftover plastic to carry around or have to dispose of.

Bring a bag for rubbish/recycling – if you are buying food in packaging, make sure to bring a bag to take your rubbish home to properly recycle.

Do a #minibeachclean – the beach is definitely a place where we want to sit back and relax, but if you make it a rule to pick up three bits of plastic whilst you’re there, then you’re reducing the amount of plastic going into the ocean that day. Make it a ritual to do a mini beach clean every time you go to help keep the coast and ocean clean.

If you want to find out more about being responsible at the beach, Surfer’s Against Sewage have launched a handy Responsible Beach Guide.

Shop Local

With many local businesses being hit hard from the impact of the past year, with some likely to struggle to financially recover, so more than ever it’s important that we support local shops and stores where we can.

As shops start to properly open in the next few months, you could switch up your usual supermarket shop by exploring local stores instead. There is an excellent selection of shops to buy locally grown fruit and veg, as well as local, high quality meat and fish. We have over 130 Plastic Free Champions in Penzance, so opting or one of those means you’re less likely to walk away with single use plastic in your bag and you’re also supporting our local economy.

The supermarkets will survive. Let’s make sure local families and businesses do too. Get details on our champs here and check back regularly as we’re always updating.

Reduce Single Use Plastic

Whilst we might have got used to spending time with our households only, restrictions will start to ease soon and we will be able to enjoy events with family and friends (hooray!). As much as we’re looking forward to the freedom of group gatherings again, it’s important that we remain mindful of our plastic usage at events and in the home.

Try to reuse and refill as much as possible. At Plastic Free Champion stores like Archie Browns, The Weigh Inn and The Granary, you can not only reduce buying plastic bottles and containers, but you can also refill and bulk buy products to save money as well.

Remember that recycling the packaging from BBQ’s and gatherings is integral to lowering the amount of plastic that we have going up in flames in Cornwall’s incinerator every day. If you’re confused about what you can and can’t recycle, then you can read more in our recycling and reuse blog post here.

Enjoy It!

One of the benefits of lockdown has been a renewed sense of place and lots of people getting out and about to connect with our beautiful environment, be it walking, swimming, cycling, watersports, foraging, wildlife trials … so much that we have been able to enjoy for free on our doorstep during restrictions.

Research has shown that as a result we all feel we want to do more to protect the environment. So let’s do just that! Post lockdown freedom and celebrations don’t need to mean that we forget the importance of what’s kept many of us going through this. Reduce single use plastic, refill, reuse and rethink … and have a blimmin’ lovely time!