PLASTIC FREE WATLINGTON
There is no “away” When you throw something away, it has to go somewhere.
320,000,000 Tonnes of plastic was generated globally in 2016 - and this is set to double by 2034. Single-use plastic - used for a few minutes or hours - and then discarded, is clogging up our planet, killing wildlife, entering our food chain, the water we drink and even the air we breathe. So how is plastic production and use linked to climate change?
1. Plastic is made from oil, which is a fossil fuel. Fossil fuel extraction and plastic production give off large quantities of carbon dioxide which adds to the greenhouse effect that is responsible for climate change.
2. The vast quantities of plastic that get dumped into our seas and oceans is killing wildlife that either eats it, choke on it, or get trapped in it, and this is slowly creating ‘dead seas’. Our seas and oceans are a major carbon sink, which means they absorb a lot of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A dead sea can no longer do this.
3. In addition, research done at the University of Hawaii in 2018 has demonstrated that many plastics actually give off powerful greenhouse gases as they break down, contributing to climate change. So how do we combat this? As a species, humanity needs to re-think its relationship with plastic, and one way we can all help is to avoid purchasing single-use plastic.
PLASTIC FREE RALLIES
To raise awareness of the issue and improve our local environment we have held the following events:
Local litter picking as part of the national Great Spring Clean
Return to Offender - part of a national initiative to encourage manufacturers to take responsibility for their packaging (pics of plastic litter)
Mass Unwrap at home - drawing attention to the issue of single-use plastic packaging
Members of the WCAG had also planned a whole community art project as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks this year involving upcycled art installations to raise awareness of environmental issues and plastic waste. This was, however, cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, and will instead take place in May next year. The intention was to create large scale art installations around the Town Hall, paddock and around the town made from waste (plastic bottles/CDs etc), working with a whole range of community groups from school children to residents of the Care Home.
PLASTIC FREE ALLIES
This step is about teaming up with Community groups such as the local primary and secondary schools, Cubs, Scouts and Guides, Churches, Library, WI, etc. to raise awareness of the importance of Plastic Free.
The First Sunday Task Force is already involved by picking up litter as they clean the streets. Watlington In Bloom, WEG and FOWH also already do litter picking, and the Girl Guides made an amazing sculpture out of single-use plastic.
What could your group do to help reduce the use of single-use plastic?
Go to our Partner page and see how you could help.
Watlington Parish Council has passed a motion to support Plastic Free Watlington. To complete this objective, we are working with the Council to complete an audit of all single-use plastic and create a plan to eliminate it where possible.
We are also working with the Watlington Parish Council to set up other recycling points for ‘hard to recycle’ items, and those not currently accepted in our green bins. The Council have already set up two initiatives at the Parish Office: A Freecycle collection box for foil packaging (eg. crisp/teabag packets etc) and bread bags, and a wine bottle corks recycling point.