More help needed to tackle plastic waste in Leamington

Business owners, who are involved with the Plastic Free Leamington and Warwick Campaign.'Pictured: Jo Lally, Cllr Andrew Thompson representing Alice Ellis, Sarah Kenny-Levick and Lydia Snape.
Business owners, who are involved with the Plastic Free Leamington and Warwick Campaign.'Pictured: Jo Lally, Cllr Andrew Thompson representing Alice Ellis, Sarah Kenny-Levick and Lydia Snape.

A campaign striving to make Leamington a ‘plastic-free’ community is making steady progress and needs help to continue making headway.

The Plastic-Free Leamington and Warwick campaign was launched in January 2018 and now the team behind the initiative are pushing to become one of the first 100 plastic-free towns in the UK.

Warwick Street Kitchen is one of the businesses tackling single-use plastic waste.

Warwick Street Kitchen is one of the businesses tackling single-use plastic waste.

Jo Lally, one of the people behind ‘Plastic-Free Leamington and Warwick’, said: “We are working in partnership with the Now or Never Campaign to accredit plastic-free businesses in the town and we are really pleased to have around 20 local businesses that are ‘plastic-free champions’ including Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council.

“We are also working with the Refill Scheme (refil.org) and we have a number of schools in the Leamington area that are working towards ‘plastic-free’ status. Now we are in discussions with events such as the Leamington Half Marathon and the Regency Run.

“It’s also great to see pop- up shops in the area selling waste-free products. We help to promote them and we support them. It’s a good way to help people to change their behaviours.

“I am pretty chuffed and I am hoping with the support of all the businesses and the events we are hoping to get the application for the ‘plastic-free’ status this year. 450 towns are looking at the status nationally and we want to try and get in the first 100 or even 50.”

Leif is one of the businesses tackling single-use plastic waste.

Leif is one of the businesses tackling single-use plastic waste.

Although change is taking place, Jo highlighted that there is much more to be done to eliminate single-use plastic from the town.

“It is important that more people make these changes,” said Jo. “The task can feel really big and you can feel ‘someone else can sort it’ but it has to be ourselves who make a change with plastic waste.

“Recycling is not the answer and really it’s the last resort before landfill. We need to look at how we live and how we shop and how we are going to turn this problem around.

“It’s everybody’s problem and some of the things people can do are easy such as taking shopping bags with you or using reusable coffee cups.

The refill stickers in business windows.

The refill stickers in business windows.

“It’s all about the unnecessary single-use plastic that we can eliminate but it needs everyone to get on board including businesses. Change has to come from both sides.

“We always knew this change was going to take some time but I am thrilled with the progress. We do need more volunteers and more people to talk to businesses to help accelerate it and we still have lots to tackle such as takeaways and it’s going to be a tricky challenge.”

The team behind Plastic-Free Leamington and Warwick are in need of more volunteers to help them continue working towards the ‘plastic-free’ status.

They are also in need of more people to help them at public events such as Eco Fest in May.

The Plastic Free Leamington and Warwick logo.

The Plastic Free Leamington and Warwick logo.

The team behind the campaign are also looking to encourage more businesses, organisations and schools in the area to start tackling single-use plastic waste.

For more information about volunteering or about going ‘plastic free’ click here