Bangor has become the first city in Wales to be granted “Plastic Free Community” status by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage.
The city in northwest Wales has been recognised for its work to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastics, and now joins a network of communities across the UK who are tackling throwaway culture and single-use plastic.
Harry Riley, a former student at Bangor University, started the campaign while studying for a degree in Biology. He set up a steering group which included academics, students, and local councillors. The team attracted followers through social media and successfully ran several events including litter picking and beach clean-ups. The steering group has also raised awareness of the impact of plastics on the environment through a number of educational events.
Working with local businesses, schools and community groups, the steering groups aims to engage in a conversation about how to use materials, how to introduce a culture of re-use and reduce our dependency on disposable items.
It is understand that the Bangor Recycling Centre, which is currently being refurbished, will feature a reuse shop, when fully operational, where residents can leave useable item, furniture and the like, and they will be available to other residents, rather than having to be placed in skips.
Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Officer, said: “It’s great to see the work that Bangor has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.
“We have over six hundred 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.”
The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community aims to free the places across the UK from single-use plastic. The marine conservation charity 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.
Harry Riley added: “There is still a lot of work to be done in making Bangor truly “plastic free” and unfortunately, like so many other projects, the pandemic has slowed down for the time being.
“But we’re looking for enthusiastic locals, young people or students to get involved and use this status as encouragement and drive to do this!”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.