It is possible to go “plastic free,” the coastal town of Penzance, in England is showing us how to do that.
Jubilee Pool Café, is a ”single use plastic free venue.” Customers will find no plastic straws, cups or cutlery here. Instead there are wooden stirrers, cornstarch straws, and disposable coffee cups made out of a biodegradable material. The café also sells glass to-go mugs.
On nearby Chapel Street ― where 18th century buildings house gift shops, antique stores and boutique guesthouses ― is the natural skincare store Pure Nuff Stuff. Inside, shelves are stocked with bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free dental floss, solid shampoo and moisturizer bars.
Pure Nuff Stuff and the Jubilee Pool Café are just two of the businesses that are involved in a huge community effort — involving local residents, schools and government ― to stamp out single-use plastics in Penzance.
In 2017, this town of 21,000 people became the first community in the U.K. to be awarded “Plastic Free” status by the conservation nonprofit Surfers Against Sewage as part of its Plastic Free Communities initiative.
Those arriving at the picturesque Cornish harbor town by road are greeted by a black sign with “Welcome to Plastic Free PZ, Reduce, Refill, Rethink” spelled out in orange LED lights.
The plastics crisis is increasingly visible everywhere, but especially in coastal towns like Penzance. In 2016, the world produced over 320 million tons of plastic, a figure set to double by 2034, according to Surfers Against Sewage.
Plastic Free Communities is a great way for businesses to have an impact but few cafe owners are going beyond that like The Shore, a small seafood restaurant.
This restaurant minimizes food waste by having a set menu and only cooking for pre-booked guests; only buying local, seasonal ingredients; closely monitoring energy usage; and returning unwanted plastic packaging to suppliers — putting the onus on them to dispose of it.
Today, more than 125 businesses in town, including cafés, hotels, guesthouses and retailers; encourage customers to bring their own containers for milk, meat, groceries, dried goods and cleaning products.
Reference- Huffpost, The Guardian, Surfers Against Sewage website