A party with a difference took place using Zoom video conferencing recently to celebrate Mold Plastic Reduction’s first birthday – with the exciting news that the town had just been awarded ‘Plastic Free Community’ status by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).
Over 50 people joined in the party, with participants from right across the UK taking part. Sarah Pratt, from Mold Plastic Reduction steering group said, “We were absolutely thrilled that so many people joined in to celebrate our first birthday, and that environmental journalist and presenter on the One Show, Lucy Siegle (pictured), took part from her home in London; along with other key speakers – Rachel Yates, plastic free communities officer, SAS, from Penzance; Hannah Blythyn MS, Member of the Senedd for Delyn, from her home in Mold; Carolyn Thomas, Flintshire County Councillor; and Rob Lewis of Celtic Financial Planning Ltd, one of Mold’s Plastic Reduction Business Champions.
“As well as sharing their ideas they answered questions from other people at the party. Being a party we just had to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and Iona Hughes from Wrexham led us all with her beautiful voice. We raised our glasses to toast the amazing community here in Mold and all the volunteers who have got behind our campaign and are reducing the amount of throw-away plastics they use.
“Some key themes during the evening were the importance of shopping locally and supporting our local businesses, which is even more essential if they are to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. Rob Lewis said that it was a very difficult time for small businesses which were clinging on to what business they could get. He thought it was also a time to look forward at opportunities and Celtic Financial Planning has launched a Green Recovery Plan to enable them to become a more sustainable and responsible business. For them the way forward is the green approach.
“There’ve been many changes in the way we’ve been living during lockdown. Lucy Siegle thought that there was far more awareness of the environment right now and this could be the moment to re-imagine ourselves living as part of nature. She has just interviewed David Attenborough for a podcast on 28 May and asked him whether he anticipated the impact that ‘Blue Planet 2’ would have, he told her it had been a surprise to him and he went on to praise the work of Plastic Free Communities. Lucy didn’t think, as a Plastic Free Community now, Mold could get a better endorsement than that!
“Rachel Yates recognised that the public are understandably concerned about hygiene and how products are packaged, this was especially so with the Refill scheme, where people are encouraged to take their own clean containers to be refilled with food and / or water from businesses. Another concern is whether the transmission of the virus may be less if we buy food and drink products wrapped in plastic packaging, this is not fully known and research is presently taking place – SAS will be issuing guidance to Plastic Free Communities.
“Carolyn Thomas mentioned that the volumes of household waste collected by Flintshire County Council had shot up since April, along with the amount being recycled and requests for recycling sacks. Hannah Blythyn said that with recycling in Wales the question was how to get to the next level, which included taking into account the whole life cycle of products – how products are introduced not just what happens to them at the end of their life cycle. The aim in Wales was to be a zero waste country.”
At the end of the party Sarah thanked everyone who joined in and all the people who had achieved so much during the last year and helped Mold gain Plastic Free Community status.