Environment, Top Story | Posted: Thursday, September 26th, 2019 at 9:50 am | return to news

Congratulations Ferndown!

Plastic Free Ferndown is celebrating new plastic-free status. It has been awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to help reduce the impact of single-use plastic (SUP) on the environment.

Plastic Free Ferndown

Ferndown has joined over 600 communities across the UK that are leading the way to tackle throwaway plastic at source. The town can now celebrate achieving its new status and would like residents to join the party. An event is being planned and is likely to be linked to this year’s Christmas event in Penny’s Walk in November. More details will follow.

Local leads

Janine, Ben and Louis Pulford wanted to join the plastic free campaign because they felt passionate about the cause. They wanted to help reduce local consumption of SUPs as well as highlighting the campaign through their local community magazines Viewpoint and 4Dorset.

Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, the three of them had to set up a community-led steering group which implemented the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme; obtained local council commitment and worked with local businesses, key organisations and community groups to minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.

Plastic Free Champions

“Our local community really got behind us,” said Janine, who is also the editor of 4Dorset and Viewpoint magazines. “Businesses were particularly keen and the 15 Plastic Free Champions we have on board have replaced or eliminated at least three SUPs each.

“Ferndown Pharmacy swapped plastic prescription bags for paper bags, they did the same with their bulk order carrier bags. Where plastic bags are needed for certain medicines, they swapped plastic for biodegradable material. Just think if every chemist in the country followed suit,” said Janine. “These easy swaps would remove millions of tonnes of single use plastic from our environment.”

Some businesses found it harder than others. “We admire our champions for being so resourceful and overcoming what may seem impossible hurdles,” said Janine. “Ferndown Florist and Xerocad were two businesses that had to really research alternatives.”

Community Allies

Plastic Free Ferndown has also linked up with community allies. Among those who have joined the campaign in force are Ferndown Town Council, The Barrington Centre, Ferndown upper and first schools, The Recycling Store, St Mary’s Church and Friends of Uddens and Cannon Hill Woodlands.

Not an easy journey

On behalf of PFF Steering Committee, Janine said, “We won’t pretend it’s been an easy journey, but the support has been overwhelming and the steering committee has met regularly and worked hard to achieve this status for Ferndown.”

A united network

The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from SUPs. Using a five-point plan the aim is to empower communities to kick-start local grassroots action, which can then be built upon.

The marine conservation charity, based in St Agnes in Cornwall, says it wants to unite communities to tackle avoidable plastic from the beach all the way back to the brands and businesses who create it. It says it is not about removing all plastic from our lives, but kicking our addiction to throwaway plastic and changing the system that produces it.

Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities project officer, said: “It’s great to see the work that Ferndown has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.”

For more information visit www.plasticfree.org.uk and www.sas.org.uk

Plastic Free Ferndown is still looking for more businesses and community allies to join its successful campaign and help make Ferndown a more environmentally friendly place to live. New committee members are welcome.

Contact Plastic Free Ferndown: Ben, Louis and Janine Pulford, community leads: 01202 870270

Visit Facebook: Plastic Free Ferndown group, and page

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