Strides are being made in an initiative to help make Warwick one of the first plastic-free towns in the UK.
A working party made up of members of the town council and the chamber of trade has been working with businesses and organisations to reduce the amount of plastic waste that is generated across the town.
The town is making progress and the town council has achieved the Plastic-Free Champion status after eliminating the use of plastics at the visitor information centre, in the ballroom and office.
Cllr Richard Edgington, chairman of Warwick Town Council’s economic and tourism committee, said: “The progress made to date has been fantastic and shows that the local business community take seriously the issues posed by single-use plastics. I am delighted that as a town council we have achieved the Plastic- Free Champion status and hope other businesses and organisations will follow suit.”
The initiative in the town began in August 2018 when the issue of plastic waste was discussed at the town council’s economic and tourism committee. The working party was formed to discuss how to reduce single-use plastics with the view of eliminating plastics by 2020.
The steps being taken by Warwick is also part of the wider ‘Plastic-Free Warwick and Leamington’ campaign. Surfers against Sewage (SAS), an organisation seeking to reduce plastics across the UK, has got on board with the campaign.
Cllr Edgington also highlighted that strives are being taken by a number of businesses in the town. He said: “The support of our small independent shops and businesses again show the best of Warwick and those who want to make a difference.
“Notable successes within the town has been the support of Warwick Racecourse which has eliminated single-use plastics on race days. Warwick Castle is also on board and is actively reducing single-use plastics.
“As always, 2019 is another busy year for Warwick with scores of events. We are working towards large events including the Folk Festival and Pub in the Park to consider being plastic-free.
“The aim is to achieve a Plastic-Free Warwick by the end of the year and be within the first 100 towns in the UK to be Plastic Free.”
Ryan Bronger, who is the green champion for Jockey Club Catering at Warwick Racecourse and responsible for driving down the environmental impact of the racecourse, said: “We do as much as we can to recycle all of our waste on-site and are committed to the plastic free initiative from Warwick Town Council.
“This season we have made five key changes to move away from single-use plastic, highlighted by the introduction of eco-cups in our bars.
“We have transitioned to biodegradable cutlery, paper straws, wooden stirrers and will no longer be selling plastic bottled water – instead opting for canned water.
“The Jockey Club is targeting zero waste to landfill by 2020 and currently 74 per cent of the Jockey Club’s waste is recycled and the remainder is sent to waste-for-energy.”
Jo Lally, one of the people behind ‘Plastic-Free Leamington and Warwick’, said: “The council has been so proactive. Warwick School is reducing plastic and it would be great to get more schools on board.
"We also have businesses working on being plastic-free.
"We have many business in Smith Street have also signed up to the refill scheme and are reducing single use plastic. We have also managed to get refill sites on the tourism boards and signs.
“We are now progressing with events in the town such as the Folk Festival, Pub in the Park, the Warwick Half Marathon and the Two Castles run.
"We are delighted with progress in the first year of this campaign and if things continue as they are we hope to submit our application to the SAS for Plastic Free Community status this year.
"There is still so much more to do, and with the support of the general public, local businesses and continued support from the council we hope to substantially reduce the single use plastic footprint in our towns.
In time we hope to completely eliminate it. If anyone would like to get involved in the campaign or simply know what actions they can take in their own lives please get in touch or join our Facebook page.
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