Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), a marine conservation and campaigning charity, is building a network of ‘Plastic Free’ communities across the UK including Devon and Cornwall.

In the Cornish Times area there are a number of communities who are certified by SAS. Looe, Liskeard, Bodmin and Torpoint have all been given recognition of being ‘plastic free’.

Other communities such as Polperro (Lansallos), Fowey, Golant, St Blazey, Lanivet, Rame, Saltash, and Calstock are all communities in progress.

The ‘plastic free’ aim is to eradicate single-use plastic.

There is a five step tool kit which all communities must achieved to become ‘plastic free’. These include; spreading the word throughout your community, committing businesses to ditching single-use plastic, forming the backbone of your community group and getting local authorities on board.

Beth Woolley, Plastic Free Bodmin lead, explained: “Bodmin was 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 in March 2023.”

Beth started the campaign in November 2021, after she struggled to source plastic free items during lockdown. She decided that rather than just complain she should use her frustration to try and make a change locally and was amazed at how many people in Bodmin were interested in environmental issues and wanted to be a part of the journey.

Beth registered with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement and put in place their five-point plan. The objectives included; 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.

Beth has been delighted by the results she has had with this campaign and describes the overwhelming response from a diverse range of organisations in Bodmin as “an inspiring community action”. Currently there are more than 25 Bodmin based community groups, businesses and organisations signed up as supporters of the project. As well as environmental organisations such as the Bodmin Tidy It Team, there are allies from groups supporting young people, such as Miss Elvy’s Curious School of the Wild and all of Bodmin’s primary schools, Bodmin and Callywith College are signed up to the Plastic Free Schools initiative. Local publications, Bodmin Voice and Bodmin Life have helped spread the word, and long established local organisations such as The Rotary Club of Bodmin are also on board. Bodmin Town Council passed a resolution supporting the plastic free journey, committing to taking action itself and supporting plastic-free initiatives within the Town. Beth also has support from a number of local businesses that have become ‘Business Champions’ who have made sustained changes to their business to reduce their single use plastic, including Celtic Produce, Discovery 42 and Oggy Oggy Pasties.

Plastic Free Bodmin promoted the campaign and plastic free alternatives at various local events, including PandaFest and Bodmin Town Council’s monthly market on Mount Folly to raise awareness amongst the community and in a joint project with Bodmin Way reduced the amount of single use plastic at the town’s annual St Piran’s Day parade this year. In sponsorship with Proper Cornish, each child who participated in the parade were given a reusable drinking bottle rather than the traditionally used disposable one with their pasty lunch- featuring a design from the winner of a recent competition for local school age children illustrating the connection and importance of Cornwall and environmental sustainability.

Beth is overjoyed that the town has now been awarded plastic free community status and sees this as just the start of the journey.

Beth added: “Plastic Free Bodmin is only getting bigger and more impactful and welcomes any interested volunteers, groups or businesses to support their goals- please get in touch ([email protected])!” Beth continued.

To find out more about plastic free groups or register a community visit