Five things you can do to cut plastic this Platinum Jubilee

It’s so good to be able to plan events and celebrations with each other again. With that comes another resurgence of single use plastic. So, this Platinum Jubilee we’re sharing top tips on how to cut waste and plastic at any parties you or your community have got planned.

First up, did you know Penzance has an Event Charter? It sets out some minimum actions for any events being organised in the town. You can get a copy here

Also take a look at the Sustainable PZ Events guide and feel free to download a copy of the Events Guide to send to people coming to your event or put up locally so everyone can see it.

Here are some more ideas and thoughts:


Take a refill coffee or festival cup out with you and ask for your brew or beer to be put in that, rather than a disposable cup. Refill is perfectly safe and while vendors have always had the right to refuse, the more of us who ask, the more it’ll be become normal practice


Don’t buy anything in single-use plastic where you can. If you’re organising a get-together at home or in the street, get everyone to bring a plate. Works out cheaper than loads of plastic wrapped, supermarket-bought party and picnic food too.


Take a refill water bottle to keep your H2O topped up and use reuse cutlery, tubs and plates for food. Works for festivals … but also think back to Silver Jubilee parties and proper cutlery, plates and cups laid out on tables in the streets. People can bring their own and take them home again after to wash.


Reducing and reuse means less waste to get rid of. Provide adequate bins and separate out anything that’s left so a much is recycled as possible at your events. You can even collect compostable food waste for local gardeners, allotments or growing projects. If you’re out and about and there are no bins, take rubbish back with you.


How can you do things differently? What will you do with leftover food? Growing Links is a fabulous local CIC providing healthy meals to the most vulnerable people and families in Penzance. Could you take it there? Can you get food and drink from local businesses rather than the supermarkets to cut plastic? One simple swap: Bunting for Balloons!

Get more tips and ideas in our Life Hacks section on events here

Any action, small or large, adds up. We hope there are some ideas in here you feel you can put into place … and we hope you have a great time.



Show the Love to Penzance with a Beach Clean

This February, we’re celebrating the incredible part of the country we live in, as well as supporting the people who are working hard to keep it that way.

Plastic Free Penzance is gathering the troops for a beach clean on Sunday 13th February, as part of the ‘Show the Love’ campaign. The movement, driven by the Climate Coalition, takes place every year in February and aims to highlight how people from all walks of life are helping to tackle climate change together, however big or small.

Since 2015, ‘Show the Love’ has inspired the UK to use the power of green hearts to ask politicians to help tackle the climate crisis. Whether it starts at home or with a community group, the green heart can be used as a symbol when asking your local MP to drive change towards protecting the climate. If you want to find out how you can get involved, download the Climate Coalition action pack here.

As well as supporting this initiative, the beach clean this month will as always support and form part of the Surfers Against Sewage beach clean movement, which enables volunteers from all ages and backgrounds to help protect the ocean.

If you’d like to help us spread the love, we’ll be at Long Rock Car Park on Sunday 13th February at 11am to clean up the coast from Long Rock to Eastern Green. As always, kit will be provided for free, so you can help pick up discarded rubbish and plastic that could eventually be washed into the ocean. Feel free to bring your own gloves, bags and anti-bac if you feel better doing that.

No pre-sign up is required, just simply turn up on the day, just one thing to remember … children under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

See you there!

Feel free to tag us on on Insta and Facebook on the day to share your beach clean experience. We’d love to hear your stories

PackSwap PZ is Back

It’s official – PackSwap PZ is back. If you haven’t heard of PackSwap yet, it’s an initiative run through Plastic Free Penzance that enables businesses and individuals to re-use any plastic packaging that comes into town. It offers a free, eco-friendly alternative to single-use packaging – and the more businesses and locals that get involved, the more everyone benefits.

So how does PackSwap work?

It all starts when a local business gets a delivery. Once the order is unpacked, all that plastic packaging – whether it’s packing pellets, bubble wrap or air pockets – is no longer needed. So, rather than sending it to Cornwall’s incinerator, businesses can donate it to the PackSwap scheme.

There are two ways to donate packaging. You can post a picture and description on the PackSwap online page, and another member of the group can arrange to collect it. Or, you can bring any packaging along to our new PackSwap Hub with Mor Swimmy, at the old Burtons store in Penzance. We re-open Saturday 11th December, and will also be there on 18th December for your Christmas posting and packing needs. After that we’ll be back in the New Year, every Saturday from 8th January, 10:30am until 12pm.

Once packaging is donated, anyone in the community is welcome to it. You might be a small eco-friendly startup, a bigger business looking to cut costs, moving house or have things to post to friends and family. Whatever you need, you can collect any free packaging you need from the hub or or the FB group.

Three ways PackSwap can benefit your business

Whatever size your business is, there’s plenty of ways you can benefit from PackSwap PZ:

It’s super-cheap option for your packaging needs

It’s free packaging! You can stock up on packaging pellets, jiffy bags, bubble wrap, or anything else you need, without having to pay out for costly alternatives that you can only use once. And with Christmas fast approaching, now is a great time to take advantage of the scheme.

It offers an eco-friendly alternative to single-use packaging

Today, packaging accounts for 40% of plastic pollution. Most of it is used once, then is thrown away and left for incineration – despite being perfectly usable. By re-using packaging, you’re helping to create a circular economy, and stopping single-use plastic from entering our ecosystems.

It can help you build stronger connections with your local community

 At its heart, PackSwap promotes collaboration. It’s a way to build new connections with your neighbouring businesses, and help Penzance become a cleaner, greener community.

Get involved

You can get involved with PackSwap PZ today by visiting the online page . From there, you can join the community, ask any questions you have, share your own spare packaging, or collect packaging from other group members.

Or you can drop off your spare packaging weekly, by visiting the PackSwap Hub with Mor Swimmy, at the old Burtons store. Starting Saturday 11th December , the stall will be open every Saturday from 10:30am to 12pm for drop offs and collections.

Plastic Free Gift Wrap Service

This year we’re all excited about winter festivities, spending some quality time with the family and sharing gifts with loved ones. Despite all the joy that comes with the season, there’s usually also a whole lot of unnecessary plastic.

At Plastic Free Penzance, we share lots of ways we can keep tat and plastic to a minimum and reduce the throwaway bits that come with this time of year.

One of the easiest ways we can help reduce single use plastic and waste this Christmas is to opt for Plastic Free Gift Wrapping. There are many creative and fun ways to do this and to inspire you we’ve listed our top tips here.

We’re here to help too – so if you want us to do the wrap work for you, just head to our free Gift Wrap station at the town’s Christmas Fairs – details at the end.

Our top 5 tips on plastic free wrapping:

Reuse gift paper – If you’re like us and can’t bear to throw away perfectly usable gift paper, then save it for next year! If your old stuff is tatty, you could always opt for using things like newspapers, magazines or brown paper to wrap all your gifts, which can be easily recycled too.

Use ribbon or string instead of tape – We’re a big fan of ribbon and string, and not only does it look pretty on your presents, but it can be reused year after year and beats using plastic filled sellotape. And it makes all the brown paper and newspaper look pretty cool too.

Get your Furoshiki on – Say goodbye to any wrapping paper with this badass Japanese gift wrapping technique. A lesser known version of origami, this method involves using only fabric to wrap your gifts. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll never use paper again! If you want to learn for this Christmas, this easy to use guide can be found online below

Say goodbye to old Christmas cards – Finally, a use for those old Christmas cards that you’ve got stuffed in a drawer. Instead of buying present tags, create your own by cutting up old Christmas cards. You’ll also get some serious credit for making your own.

Get back to nature – Nature is pretty awesome and what better way to jazz up some wrapping paper than with some REAL holly or mistletoe? Take a trip to the woods and forage for some fallen foliage, or you could even pick up some pine cones to decorate your home. The world is your oyster.

We’ll be offering a plastic free gift wrapping service at the Christmas markets in Penzance throughout the festive season. Still to come:

  • Saturday 4th December – we’ll be at the Penwith College Christmas Fair between 10am-2pm
  • Saturday 18th December – we’ll be at the Makers Market at The Exchange all day, followed by the Lantern Parade

We’d love to see you there and we’re also offering plastic free gift wrapping ‘kits’ if you’d prefer to wrap your gifts at home.

As always, we’d love to hear about your plastic free gift wrapping experiences or tips, so please feel free to tag us on Insta and Facebook.

Was the Tour of Britain Plastic Free?

Tackling plastic waste is a tough job – especially when it comes to big events. But as the people of Penzance welcomed the Tour of Britain to town, were there signs that things are changing?

Just a few weeks ago, more than a hundred cyclists zoomed through PZ’s streets in a nail-biting first stage of the competition, which saw cyclists riding 180km through Cornish countryside, from Penzance to Bodmin (and a myriad of other towns along the way).

Unsurprisingly, thousands of people headed to town to mark the beginning of the nationally-renowned event. And, after 18 months of restrictions and a total shut down on large celebrations, it’s safe to say the atmosphere was buzzing!

Even as festivities kicked off for the Grand Depart on that mizzly Sunday morning, it was smiles all round and a feeling of excitement to be back in the thick of it all once more. From the cycling enthusiasts to the families tagging along for the ride, this was no doubt a historic moment for PZ.

But, as with all events, there always comes a certain degree of rubbish. In all honesty, it’s almost expected at this point. That’s why we always like to be prepared; in this case, with the volunteer crew from Plastic Free Penzance who were on hand to snatch up plastic packaging pollution before it could cause irreparable damage.

A pleasant surprise

However, what they found was a pleasant surprise… there wasn’t as much waste as expected. In fact, they quickly noted that all riders were carrying refillable water bottles and the traders running the market stalls had put the effort in to reduce the amount of plastic being given out. The town’s Plastic Free Charter, which was sent out in advance to local and national organisers, had been embraced.

We were absolutely thrilled to see the charter in action,  it demonstrates that being a Plastic Free Community, almost four years down the line, has become embedded in our culture. That volunteers picked up so much less than expected is an absolute win for Penzance and shows that hosting big events doesn’t have to mean big amounts of waste. Penzance is helping lead the way when it comes to sustainability and it’s not being confined to our own households.

However, while things are certainly on the up, it doesn’t necessarily mean the job is done. Cigarette butts, which are made of non-biodegradable plastic, were the top find on the clean at the Tour of Britain and can still be incredibly harmful to wildlife. Now Sustainable PZ will be counting up how many butts it finds on its street and beach cleans through Plastic Free PZ,  to call for special butt bins.

Taking it further

We still have a long way to go, but the good news is that we can all help. If you’re planning on heading to a big event in town there are ways to reduce your eco-impact, in fact, Sustainable PZ have created a guide right here for you. It’s got tips for everything from getting here to what to bring with you, so you can make sure you’re putting the planet and people at the top of your list.

And event organisers? Look out for the new event toolkit coming soon, to help you support our ambitions to becoming a truly sustainable community.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to keep up with our latest advice and tips – or even share some of your own.

Penzance and Marazion team up for the Million Mile Clean 

This October, Plastic Free Penzance are joining forces with Plastic Free Marazion to help Surfers Against Sewage reach its goal of cleaning a million miles across the UK, and we need your help.

We’re encouraging people of all ages across Penwith to get stuck in as we hold our first big bay clean in two years.

As always, we love seeing volunteers get out into nature whilst helping the environment and we’re proud that our beach cleans have become places to meet new people and old friends alike. If that sounds up your street, come join us as the SAS Million Mile Clean encourages 100,000 volunteers to walk 10 miles whilst cleaning up local areas including beaches, rivers and streets.

On the day, all kit will be provided for people to get stuck in and help pick up discarded rubbish and plastic that could be washed into our oceans, or has washed up on the tide. The event will be socially distanced so people feel safe to come along during Covid.

Following the amazing work of volunteers plastic picking at the Tour of Britain, we’ll also be keeping our eyes out for cigarette butts on the day. They were the top item collected of the streets during the cycling event, so the team will be monitoring the number picked up during the Million Mile Clean and will use the information to call for more cigarette bins to be placed in the bay.

Jack Middleton, Community and Events Manager at Surfers Against Sewage said:

“We have been absolutely blown away by the community engagement across the UK and the response to the Million Mile Clean. It has been a hard 2 years but to see volunteers reconnect with each other and our blue and green spaces in their tens of thousands has been nothing short of inspiring! There is always a moment of nervousness when you launch a campaign as ambitious as this but, in the case of the Million Mile Clean it was unjustified! We still have three months left but it is safe to say we will have been joined by over 100,000 volunteers and we will definitely exceed 1 million miles. Well done and thank you to everyone that has been involved – you are all amazing!”

Please help us help SAS hit their target on Sunday 3rd October by meeting at 10am at either:

  • Long Rock Car Park

  • The Hoxton Special

  • Jordans Cafe

No sign up is required,  simply turn up on the day. Children under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult and kit is provided, although if you feel better to bring your own gloves and bags that’s fine too.

Feel free to tag us on on Insta and Facebook on the day to share your beach clean experience. We’d love to hear your beach clean stories

Kick start your Plastic Free Summer

The Summer Holidays are back in full swing and having been locked up for most of the winter, we’re all dying to get our swimsuits on, head to the beach and get some much needed relaxation time in. At Plastic Free PZ, we’ve been keeping busy for Plastic Free July, but if you’re looking to extend your plastic free lifestyle, or you’re looking for tips on how to keep the kids busy this Summer with eco-friendly activities, we thought we’d give our tips on how to have a plastic free summer in the most beautiful part of the country (OK, we might be a little biased but we can’t help it).

Keeping the kids busy with plastic free activities

In Penzance, we’re lucky enough to have the beach on our doorstep, so there’s a tonne of plastic free activities that involve a whole lot of fun and minimal waste.

  • Plastic Free Beach Days – a beach day doesn’t need to result in bagfuls of rubbish. Pack your own sandwiches in reusable containers for the day, bring reusable water bottles and bring a bag so you can pick up any litter you see on the day to help keep our beaches clean.
  • Plastic Free Picnic – the stunning coastline surrounding Penzance is the perfect location for a light hike followed by a picnic. Say goodbye to throwaway cling film, local shops such as Hobbs sell reusable beeswax wraps to keep your sarnies fresh.
  • Microplastic Mondays – to get the kids stuck in this Summer, Plastic Free PZ is bringing back its Microplastic Mondays workshops, all free and available for anyone to join. The team usually meets at Red River on Marazion beach to educate little ones on the microplastics that can be found in the sea using sieves. Check out our Instagram to see when the next workshop is taking place.

Educating guests on the Plastic Free PZ mantra

As a lot of people are still avoiding travelling abroad, tourist numbers in Penzance are even higher than usual and as much as the Cornish love to welcome all with open arms, we don’t love their mess.

If you’ve got guests visiting this Summer, make sure to encourage them to be as plastic free as possible and keep our beaches as lovely as they are. Reminding them to pack tupperware, reusable shopping bags, bottles and cups is a simple and effective way to help them enjoy an eco-friendly holiday


If you’re visiting Plastic Free Penzance

If you’re visiting our neck of the woods this Summer, please do remember to respect and help keep our coastlines as they should be, clean. Keeping it simple, we’ve got 3 easy reminders for tourists who want to be as plastic free as possible;

  • Use a refill bottle – with the launch of Refil PZ, there are an abundance of shops, cafes and restaurants in PZ that will refil your water bottle for you, so no need to buy plastic bottles as you can refil on the go!
  • Use a refill coffee cup – don’t forget to pack your coffee reusable cup to enjoy your morning caffeine hit without the waste.
  • Shop Local – as a range of shops in Penzance such as Thorne’s fruit and veg shop and Harvey’s Butchers offer plastic free packaging, shop local rather than head to the nearest supermarket that usually results in a lot of unnecessary plastic.

We’d love for you to spread the word on your plastic free holiday. You can follow us on @plasticfreepz


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: