Recycle Week 2018 - Plastic Free Plymouth

Plastic is something we all use. Whether we drink from a plastic bottle, wrap our lunch in cling film, sip through a straw or use a carrier bag from a shop, it’s a material that’s part of the fabric of everyday life.

Whilst plastic is undoubtedly a useful and durable material, our usage of it is proving to be problematic. Some forms of plastic cannot be recycled effectively, meaning they are left in landfill sites and can take up to 500 years to decompose, potentially leaking pollutants into the soil and water supply.

If plastic is not effectively disposed of (By placing in bins and being secured when transported) when it’s no longer needed, it can blow into drains and sewer systems, which eventually lead to it ending up streams, rivers and oceans. Each year, around 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans. This can prove to be fatal to marine life and the ocean’s delicate ecosystem, with catastrophic consequences.

As Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean City, it’s easy to see the effects of plastic pollution on the environment right on our doorstep. Floating bottles and plastic debris are common sights in the Sound and Breakwater, so city leaders were determined to make a change.

In June this year, Plymouth became the first city in the UK to achieve ‘plastic free status’, after working with the global charity, Surfers Against Sewage. This accreditation was awarded as a result of the ‘Plan for Plastics’ initiative, which aims to significantly reduce the use of single use plastics by 2020 and to bring its use to a minimum by 2034.

The ‘Plan for Plastics’ has four fundamental principles:

  • AVOID
  • RECYCLE
  • INNOVATE
  • CONNECT

Plymouth Community Homes are one of the 120 business partners and community ambassadors who have pledged their support to the initiative. We have already eliminated most single-use plastics used in the course of day to day business and have given every member of staff a One Plymouth Cup to help them further reduce the amount of single-use plastics we produce as an organisation.