Plastic Free Lewes

Sick of single-use plastic bags, drinking straws and overpackaging? Depressed by stories of plastic pollution in our seas? Want to do something about it? Join Transition Town Lewes and partners in an exciting new project to cut plastic use across our town.

 

What is Plastic Free Lewes?

Plastic Free Lewes is an initiative by Transition Town Lewes, Lewes Town Council, Depot Cinema, Lewes District Green Party, Lewes Liberal Democrats, Lewes Railway Land Wildlife Trust, Green Cuisine Trust, the Friday Food Market and Making Lewes.

We want to take forward the ideas that local people most want to get involved in to cut unnecessary plastic use in Lewes and do our bit to tackle this growing global challenge.

 

The Plastic Action Teams

Following workshops in early 2018, a number of Plastic Action groups have formed to tackle different aspects of the plastic pollution challenge. The groups are:

  1. Alternative materials – Exploring and promoting what we can use instead of plastic
  2. Disposal – Researching the pros and cons of measures such as incineration as an emergency measure to dispose of plastic
  3. Drinking water – Cutting the need for disposable water bottles e.g. by establishing a water refill scheme and lobbying for water fountains in town
  4. Education – Raising public awareness of plastic pollution and how we can each tackle it, including by working with local schools and colleges
  5. Lobbying – Working to change legislation at the local, national and international level and pressuring national retail chains to improve their plastic practice
  6. Produce & local retailers – Supporting local cafes, restaurants and other businesses to help cut their use of plastic, and finding other ways to help consumers buy ‘plastic free’
  7. Recycling – Working to improve plastic recycling services and uptake of them, and demystifying what happens to our plastic rubbish
  8. Supermarkets – Lobbying national supermarkets to cut their use of plastic packaging 

Read about what’s happened so far

Read: Lewes shoppers invited to "unpack the plastic"

If you would like to join one of these groups – or have an ideas for another one – please get in touch via the Plastic Free Lewes Facebook Group or email Plastic Free Lewes’ administration team, suemfleming@gmail.com and Juliet@julietoxborrow.com.

 

Monthly progress meetings

Plastic Free Lewes will hold monthly meetings to report on progress, share ideas and discuss next steps – and everyone’s warmly welcome to come along. All meetings take place at the Linklater Pavilion, Railway Lane, Lewes:


Wed 21 November
Wed 12 December  


7.30pm-9pm, FREE
Plastic Free Lewes Christmas drinks!

 

Keeping in touch 

To keep up with all the very latest activities, join the Plastic Free Lewes Facebook Group

If you have a business or organisation that would like to be a Plastic Free Lewes partner, we’d love to hear from you. Or if you have any questions about Plastic Free Lewes, please get in touch. Email suemfleming@gmail.com and Juliet@julietoxborrow.com.

 

Facts about plastic pollution:

• The world is now producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year, half of which is for single use. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year.
• Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
• A plastic bag has an average ‘working life’ of 15 minutes - but could last 500 years.
• 14% of all litter comes from beverage containers.
• Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

Source: Plastic Oceans

 

Shoppers urged to unpack the plastic

Following on from the success of Lewes's first Unpack the Plastic event outside Waitrose in May, shoppers in town are being urged to take back their plastic packaging to supermarkets on the first Saturday of every month as part of a national campaign spearheaded by #notourplasticproblem.

Plastic Free Lewes is lobbying the local supermarkets to reduce their plastic packaging. To increase pressure, it is encouraging shoppers to think about what plastic they could do without - then hand back any excessive packaging to the supermarket it came from.

"Half of the 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste that UK households generate every year is created by Britain's leading supermarkets," says Lynda Durrant of Plastic Free Lewes's supermarkets group, "The supermarkets can no longer say this is the shopper's problem to sort out. If we are going to tackle global plastic pollution, the supermarkets have to start taking responsibility for their contribution to it."

Plastic Free Lewes has produced a leaflet with tips on how to cut down on plastic when shopping, plus a wishlist of actions it would like the big supermarkets to take to tackle plastic waste. 

Click on the text below to view the leaflets:

DROWNING IN PLASTIC
What could we do while shopping?

 

DROWNING IN PLASTIC
We want all supermarkets to agree to:

   


"Half of the 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste that UK households generate every year is created by Britain's leading supermarkets," says Lynda Durrant of Plastic Free Lewes's supermarkets group, "The supermarkets can no longer say this is the shopper's problem to sort out. If we are going to tackle global plastic pollution, the supermarkets have to start taking responsibility for their contribution to it." 

See more about Plastic Free Lewes and dates of monthly meetings

  

News

Lewes Town Council taking steps on single-use plastic

By Sue Fleming and Juliet Oxborrow

Lewes Town Council has voted unanimously to phase out single-use plastics from its premises and encourage groups and organisations hiring the Town Hall, the All Saints Centre, Malling Community Centre and Pells Pool to do the same.Plastic Free Lewes was pleased to meet in March with a new working party at Lewes Town Council which has been formed to help phase out single-use plastics from the council's activities.

Half of all the 300 billion tonnes of plastic produced globally is estimated to be used once before being discarded.The biggest contributors towards single-use plastic pollution include disposable water bottles, plastic bags, drinking straws, takeaway coffee cups and plastic food containers.

Working with Plastic Free Lewes, the town council is looking to:

- Send out a leaflet to anyone seeking to hire one of its venues, explaining alternatives to using single-use plastic.

- Phase out single-use plastics from all its offices and encourage workers to use reusable water bottles, coffee takeaway cups etc

- Provide posters throughout town council premises giving tips on cutting personal and business plastic use

- Provide access to taps in the town hall for anyone to refill reusable water bottles.

   

The town council is also to vote on becoming a strategic partner to Plastic Free Lewes so it can support and promote the group's initiatives. Town councillors who have joined the single-use plastics working party are Annabel Ashby (Green), Janet Baah (LibDem), John Lamb (LibDem), Susan Murray (Independent Green), Ruth O'Keeffe (Independent), Chelsea Renton (Green), Esther Watts (Green) and Stephen 'Caitlin' Wischhusen (Independent).

We are now seeking to meet with Lewes District Council, which has recently made a similar commitment to phase out single-use plastic where possible. We also intend to approach East Sussex County Council to see if it would like to formulate its own plastics policy.

You can learn more about Plastic Free Lewes here or join the Plastic Free Lewes Facebook Group here