Local Event – How, as a business, do you reduce single use plastic?

Single use plastic is everywhere, and businesses are trying to find ways reduce their plastic waste….

About this Event

But where do you begin, can a business really make a difference?Come along to this free, informative event hosted by Plastic Free Hartlepool supported by Hartlepool Borough Council to find out more.

Plastic Free Hartlepool is a community group founded in 2018 which has recently been awarded Plastic Free Community Status from marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage. To help achieve this status Plastic Free Hartlepool worked with the business community which resulted in 37 local businesses removing at least 3 pieces of single use plastic from their business. A presentation will be made to these businesses on the evening to acknowledge their support to the cause.


5.30pm – Arrival & refreshments

6pm – Welcome and overview of Plastic Free Hartlepool aims and achievements.

6.15pm – Presentation to businesses by Hartlepool Borough Council- Chief Executive Gill Alexander & Director of Regeneration & Neighbourhoods Denise McGuckin.

6.30pm – Networking.

7pm – Close

Ocean Activists Unite for UK’s Biggest Beach Clean Weekend


  • We are organising the UK’s biggest beach clean weekend, the Big Spring Beach Clean.
  • Up to 50,000 beach clean volunteers expected to participate at beaches across the UK.
  • The events will also include the UK’s biggest Plastic Pollution Brand Audit, identifying the brands contributing the most plastic pollution to the UK’s coastline.
  • We are calling for manufacturers to take responsibility for the full life-cycle of their packaging and the damage it causes to the marine environment and wildlife.
  • Events from summit to sea – in an effort to create ocean activists everywhere, we are calling for river, rural and urban events to tackle plastic pollution before it gets to the coastline.
  • Leaders and volunteers are invited to register here.

Cornwall, England: with support from Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation and Sharp’s Atlantic Pale Ale, we are organising the biggest beach clean weekend of the year as part of our annual Big Spring Beach Clean. Up to 50,000 volunteers are expected to take action to tackle the scourge of ocean plastic pollution over the weekend.

We are calling for volunteers to register their beach, river and urban clean events at here!

We have been at the forefront of the global beach clean movement for over a decade, organising over 7,507 events, mobilising a quarter of a million volunteers who have together removed a staggering 534,012.59 kg of plastic pollution from our beaches.

Volunteers will collect vital plastic pollution data as part of the Plastic Pollution Brand Audit. Last year, the results revealed that Coca Cola and PepsiCo were responsible for 25% of plastic pollution recorded by volunteers. This important citizen science project will be published to ensure that businesses are changing their attitudes, systems, products and behaviours to better protect the ocean and wider environment. We are calling for more urgent action from manufacturers to reduce their single-use plastic packaging addiction.

Plastic pollution evidence will also be submitted to the government to support ambitious and progressive policy and legislative interventions to stop plastic pollution at source. An ambitious deposit return scheme, extended producer responsibility, single-use plastic bans, and a more ambitious plastic bag charge should all be introduced as soon as possible.


Jack Middleton, Community Manager at Surfers Against Sewage says Tens of thousands of volunteers joining us at beaches and rivers is a huge indication of the public’s feelings towards the growing scale of the plastic pollution crisis. It also highlights the urgency of the radical action required to protect our ocean from their products. The data our volunteers collect will help inform and drive change by those who still put profits before the planet.”

Richard Walker, Trustee of the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation said“Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation and Surfers Against Sewage share a common passion for tackling the scourge of plastic head on, and we know that this is an issue that resonates with an ever-growing number of people. Our Iceland stores are at the heart of high streets up and down the country and we recruit our store colleagues locally, making us a true community retailer. We are delighted to be backing SAS in encouraging individuals and organisations throughout the UK to help make a difference to the quality of their local environment through The Big Spring Beach Clean.”

James Nicholls, Marketing Controller at Sharp’s Brewery says Being based a couple of miles from the sea in North Cornwall, our coastal environment is deeply important to us. We have a long history of supporting the Blue Flag and community beach cleans and the whole team at Sharp’s are over the moon to now be supporting SAS on their Big Spring Beach Clean, an initiative we’ve long admired”

(c)Checkered Photography

To register for guidance on leading your own clean, visit our page here or email our team on All Clean Leaders will receive a Big Spring Beach Clean equipment pack and a step-by-step guide to organizing your clean, along with support and guidance from our team in organising your event. Participants in the Brand Audit will also receive a limited edition Hydro Flask bottle.

We would like to thank the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation and Sharp’s Brewery and Community Partners: Canoe Foundation, Surfing England, British Canoeing, British Mountaineering Council, The Wave Project, South West Coast Path Association and the Outdoor Swimming Society.

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Ground-Breaking Federal Legislation Tackles the Root of the Plastic Pollution Crisis

For Immediate Release: February 11, 2020


Shilpi Chhotray, Break Free From Plastic, +1 703 400 9986 or
Ned Adriance, Senator Udall’s Office,
Keith Higginbotham, Congressman Lowenthal’s Office,

Washington DC —  Today, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) introduced the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act – the first comprehensive bill in Congress to address the plastic pollution crisis. Drawing on stakeholder input from over 200 individuals, environmental groups, businesses, trade associations, aquariums, academics, grassroots organizations, and state and local governments, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act reduces unnecessary plastic and reforms our broken waste management system.

Globally, the plastics industry produces over 335 million tons of plastic each year – and this volume is continuing to increase.  By 2050, global plastic production is projected to triple and will account for 20 percent of all oil consumption.  But nearly two-thirds of plastic produced becomes waste.  The materials in Americans’ blue bins are often landfilled, incinerated, or shipped overseas to countries that are unable to manage the burden of additional trash. What were once pristine agricultural communities in southeast Asia are now toxic dumpsites due to imported waste from wealthier nations like the United States.  Plastic waste finds its way into our water, soil, and air where it breaks down into microplastics that contaminate food and drinking water, consequently posing a risk to human health.

Break Free From Plastic members are supportive of the bill (learn what they are saying) as it addresses the root cause of the plastic pollution crisis.  Communities who live on the fenceline of the neighboring petrochemical facilities, in particular, face the brunt of toxic air emissions resulting in negative health impacts. In the United States, state and local governments are implementing policies to reduce unnecessary plastic products and shift the huge financial responsibility to producers for managing our waste. The Break Free From Plastic movement is calling for federal leadership to build on this momentum.



Break Free From Plastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, nearly 1,800 organizations from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. These organizations share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a global, unified vision.


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Plastic Free Communities Call for #LessPlasticPlease


Mass Unwrap 2020 calls on communities across the UK to highlight the scale of pointless plastic packaging in supermarkets. This high impact, fun and non-confrontational action is a way for shoppers to send a clear message to supermarket bosses, while leaving staff undisrupted.

Our Plastic Free Communities hold Mass Unwraps as part of their five-step plan to start freeing where they live from single-use … so we thought we’d share some of their top moments to inspire this year’s National Week of Action. Details on how to organize your own Mass Unwrap are at the end of this article.  First up …

Plastic Free Nantwich, Cheshire

The team at Plastic Free Nantwich can’t get enough of Mass Unwraps and are among a band of communities including Totnes, Wandsworth and Lincoln who hold regular events. These are great ways for our Plastic Free Communities to raise awareness and get everyone involved in their local campaigns. Now it’s time for some coordinated national action – where we will also collect shoppers’ top pointless plastic pet hates to call for #LessPlasticPlease! Everyone who signs up to Mass Unwrap 2020 will get a Citizen Science Kit to help them record what they collect and customers’ demands over pointless packaging.

Plastic Free Uffculme, Devon

Plastic Free Uffculme did a great job of making sure everyone shopping at their local Co-Op knew exactly why they were there, on the day of their Mass Unwrap. They teamed up with the Amateur Dramatic Society ensemble, which performed a song called ‘DO IT NOW!’ Weeks later the community was awarded Plastic Free Communities Approved status for their great work on raising awareness and kick starting work in the community to reduce single-use plastic.

Plastic Free Newquay, Cornwall

Another community making sure they get seen is Plastic Free Newquay. The team dressed up for their Mass Unwrap at Morrisons in the town, declaring ‘Single-Use is Bananas’. Plastic Free Newquay were instrumental in drawing up the SAS Mass Unwrap Toolkit, having piloted the Mass Unwrap in Cornwall on Earth Day 2018. Seven locations took part, paving the way for a new movement. You can read more here

Credit: Clare Ball/Plastic Free Newquay


Plastic Free Kenilworth, Warwickshire

Getting local decision makers and authorities on board is a key part of becoming a Plastic Free Community. Plastic Free Kenilworth took the opportunity to get their Mayor, Alison Firth, involved and she co-leads their campaign. She was centre stage of the town’s most recent Mass Unwrap, meeting and chatting to shoppers. During Mass Unwrap 2020 we want to send a strong message to decision-makers over pointless packaging …. that’s why we’ll be collecting shoppers’ top plastic pet hates to send straight to industry bosses.

Plastic Free Mold, Wales

The team in Mold again love a Mass Unwrap and have organised several in their community, as well as linked with other communities to encourage a Mass Unwrap movement in the local area.  One event saw them collect a two-metre-high cage of packaging with a great response from shoppers, local town and county councillors and schools, who also joined in. Linking up with local churches and community groups can also boost your impact – check out the Mass Unwrap Toolkit here for more tips

Feeling inspired? We want to create our biggest ever National Mass Unwrap in 2020 and it’s easy to get involved as a lead volunteer or shopper. Get all the details here.

Also check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and share your top pointless plastic pet hates with the hashtag #LessPlasticPlease

To find out more about Plastic Communities click here

Get your own Plastic Free Individual Action Plan here

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China Intensifies Campaign Against Plastic Pollution

Though experts describe the new policy as a “milestone,” they also believe encouraging the use of biodegradable plastics is equally damaging to the environment.

China plans to ban the production of certain single-use plastic items by the end of this year to curb the amount of waste clogging the country’s landfills and waterways.

According to the guideline co-published Sunday by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the country aims to gradually limit the production, use, and sale of single-use plastic items — from plastic bags to delivery packages — while also promoting alternative means to improve the recycling rate of plastic and reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfills.

Mao Da, founder of the nonprofit group Zero Waste Beijing, sees the long-awaited guideline as a “milestone policy” to replace the previous 2008 plastic ban and set new five-year goals combatting plastic pollution. However, he added that encouraging individuals to use biodegradable plastic, rather than reducing plastic use, would only hurt the environment in the long run.

Biodegradable plastics can break down into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass through a specialized treatment process, but experts say China doesn’t have enough treatment facilities. If improperly disposed of, biodegradable plastics can damage the environment.

“Biodegradable plastics have shortcomings and should be limited in use as well,” Mao told Sixth Tone. “Replacing nonbiodegradable plastics with biodegradable ones may cause misuse and a new type of pollution, as well as increased pressure on waste-recycling systems.”

China is the world’s largest plastics producer and exporter, accounting for over one-quarter of global plastic production in 2018. However, due to high consumption and low recycling and waste-management efforts, plastic waste often ends up polluting the land and sea.

Over 88% of waste on the sea surface and ocean floor is plastic, such as plastic bags and bottles, according to a 2018 report from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment. Another study published the year before estimated that up to 1.5 million metric tons of plastic waste from the Yangtze River is dumped into the Yellow Sea each year — the most among 10 rivers globally that together account for 90% of all plastic found in the oceans.

Authorities have now set specific timelines to minimize China’s plastic pollution.

A number of routine items — including single-use plastic straws, cotton swabs, and cosmetic products containing microbeads — as well as certain plastic soil coverings that are considered a main source of farmland soil pollution are expected to be entirely eliminated nationwide by the end of 2020.

According to the guideline, by 2025 all hotels and hostels will be banned from offering free single-use plastic items, while mail and delivery services will be prohibited from using nonbiodegradable plastic packages, tape, and single-use plastic bags. Cities will be required to ban nonbiodegradable plastic bags and aim for a 30% reduction in the consumption of single-use cutlery.

China prohibited the import of 24 types of foreign waste — including plastic and electronic waste — in 2017, and additional items were added to the list the following year. The new guideline also reinforces a blanket ban on importing any type of foreign plastic waste.

“Plastics have a close connection to chemical pollutants,” Mao said. “We use plastics indiscriminately because we think they are clean, when they actually do harm to the environment.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Eyeem/Tuchong)


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Malaysia sends back 3,737 metric tonnes of plastic waste, to repatriate more this year

SEBERANG PERAI, Jan 20 — Malaysia sent 150 containers of plastic waste weighing about 3,737 metric tonnes back to its 13 countries of origin since the third quarter of 2019, said Minister for Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin.

She said France and United Kingdom have been co-operative in the process; out of the 150 containers, 43 were sent back to France and 42 to United Kingdom.

“The repatriation of the containers did not incur any costs on us which is unprecedented as the importers and shipping companies paid for the costs,” she said during a press conference after visiting the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) at Penang Port here.

The remaining containers were sent back to the United States (US) (17 containers), Canada (11), Spain (10), Hong Kong (9), Japan (5), Singapore (4), Portugal (3), China (3), Bangladesh (1), Sri Lanka (1) and Lithuania (1).

Yeo said there are 110 more containers, from all three ports in Klang, Penang and Sarawak, that will be sent back to nine countries by the middle of this year.

“A total 60 out of the 110 are from the US and we are working closely with the US government and agencies on the process,” she said.

The remaining containers to be sent back are to Canada (15 containers), Japan (14), UK (9), Belgium (8), Mexico (1), Hungary (1), France (1) and Jamaica (1).

She said each container weighs about 20 metric tonnes so the estimated weight of the plastic waste to be sent back are around 2,200 metric tonnes.

Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeoh Bee Yin (centre) speaks during a press conference after a site visit to the North Butterworth Container Terminal in Penang January 20, 2020.

“We will continue to take enforcement action to stop the import of plastic waste and close down illegal plastic waste factories here, we want the world to know that Malaysia is not a plastic waste dumping ground,” she said.She said a new national action plan on illegal plastic waste importation will be launched next month so that all agencies involved will have proper enforcement procedures to follow.She said the action plan will smoothen procedures for agencies such as Department of Environment, Customs Department, National Solid Waste Management Department, port authorities and local governments.On enforcement action against illegal plastic waste factories in the country, Yeo said last year, joint operations by the police, customs, local councils, immigration and other agencies were held at a total 393 factories in the country.

“A total 218 illegal plastic waste factories were closed down and enforcement actions will continue to close down more illegal factories,” she said.

She said even if the factories were to reopen in a different state, the enforcement team will close it down again.

“We will act on any reports of these factories operating illegally in any states in Malaysia so we call on the public to be our eyes to report to us,” she said.

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Julia Chard, Cheryl Arnold and Diane Watson from Plastic Free Hartlepool with their approved community status.

Hartlepool is Awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status as it Takes Action on Single-Use Plastic

Hartlepool has joined a network of communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at source. The town has been awarded Plastic Free Community status by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.

After registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, a small group of Hartlepool residents (Julia Chard, Diane Watson, Cheryl Arnold, Christopher Pattison, Klaudia Borowka, Dirk Vander Werf  and Danny Oram), have been working tirelessly to pull together key organisations and businesses in the town to put in place a five-point plan. The objectives include; setting up a community led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community, groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.

Julia Chard, Cheryl Arnold and Diane Watson from Plastic Free Hartlepool with their approved community status.
Julia Chard, Cheryl Arnold and Diane Watson from Plastic Free Hartlepool with their approved community status.

“We have had tremendous support from a wide cross section of the community and now even have our own zero waste shop, “The Simple Weigh” to make single use plastic free shopping in Hartlepool even easier”

Our first plastic free business, Chilli Cake Kitchen and Bar, stopped using plastic straws, stirrers and plastic bottles. They also removed plastic coffee cups and offer a discount on take outs if you bring your own reusable. Other businesses replaced plastic bags with paper ones, stopped using envelopes with a plastic window or sourced plastic free tea bags.

We have been actively spreading the word in town and thanks to Events2GoGo, have had a free stall at the monthly maritime market, giving us a great opportunity to chat to residents about single use plastic alternatives. We have also given presentations to the WI, The Rotary and many local schools and colleges. We have been very busy!

“We are delighted to have been awarded Plastic Free Community Status as it validates all the hard work we have put in to get this far and I hope it will make it easier for us to get other businesses and community groups on board. We are not completely plastic free of course, this is just the first step in an ongoing journey but since embarking on it I have noticed a big difference in Hartlepool and I am looking forward to seeing where we will be in a year from now.”

The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single-use. Using the 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 Hartlepool has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.
“We have over six hundred and fifty communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment. Every step those communities and the individuals in them take is a step towards tackling the problem at source, challenging our throwaway culture and encouraging the habit and system changes we need to see.”

More information:
Julia Chard, Community Lead, Plastic Free Hartlepool:
Plastic Free Communities:
Surfers Against Sewage:

Plastic Free Communities is an ambitious community initiative designed to unite and empower individuals, small businesses, local government and community groups to reduce their collective plastic footprint and protect the environment together. Driven by inspirational local volunteers, we are building a new and exciting community movement tackling single-use plastics and plastic litter in our villages, towns, cities and rural locations.   This highly inclusive initiative, created for all ages and backgrounds, is designed to get the whole community active and do something positive to reduce the amount of plastic in the local environment. We believe that united communities lead to cleaner beaches, streets, parks and riverbanks.

Voice of Experience: SAS clean leader on taking the fight against single-use plastics away from the beach

Meg Lampard (front row on the right)


Volunteering in the community takes time, dedication and a can-do attitude – which is why, not only is the work appreciated, but it’s also vital to helping charities achieve their missions.

Take, for example, the thousands of volunteers who get involved with beach cleans, plastic-free campaigning and fighting back against sewage in their communities every year, with our support.

Each year, thousands of pieces of waste are collected from the local environment by people all over the UK, before it can make its way into the sea and become a part of the food chain – making these volunteers the cornerstones of our overarching marine conservation ethos.

But what makes them do it? And why do they carry on?

Meg Lampard is a beach clean leader based in Fareham, Hampshire, who has been organising the Big Spring Beach Clean and Autumn Beach Clean events in her area for the last four years.

She said:

“It’s a great feeling getting a bunch of likeminded individuals together to tackle a problem and then being able to see the difference it makes.

People are happy to come along to be by the sea, so the events are always upbeat and, knowing it’s a Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) clean, the council and partners know that all the boxes will be ticked as well, so are happy to let me get on with it.”

Growing up in Cornwall, Meg says she was aware of SAS’s early campaign to clean up bathing waters, where she spent a of time as a child.

The work at the time is what inspired her to get involved later on.

She said:

“SAS gained a lot of kudos amongst the local community for the work they did back then and it’s good to be able to give something back now as a thank you.

It feels good to get out and see change happen and once you’ve tackled your first clean, the rest seems fairly straightforward!”

During her cleans, Meg likes to provide drinks and snacks, with the help of local partners, so people have a chance to chat together after and make new connections each time.

She also says the initial setting up is quite simple – involving a few quick emails and phone calls to her local council before then contacting her local network of groups to help raise awareness for the clean itself.

She said:

“We clean right next to the Haven National Nature Reserve and it’s good to know that the birds and wildlife have a better chance of surviving here, as there will be less plastic on the beach.

I partner up with other local groups too, so it’s definitely a community event.”

It’s this dedication and commitment to her local environment that means Meg is now getting ready to take on Plastic Free Fareham, in a bid to impassion local businesses as much as the local people to do their part in ridding the world of single-use plastic.

But, for those thinking about getting involved in their own clean, she added:

“SAS make it simple with a step by step guide to running a clean.

It may seem daunting but the feeling of accomplishing the clean is incredibly uplifting.”

If you would like to become a beach clean leader or get involved with your own local clean, visit our website at or contact us directly at

Article written on behalf of SAS by Hazel Murray

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