A TOWN in the Bracknell Forest district of Berkshire has been given the Plastic Free Communities award for the action it’s taken on throwing away disposable plastic.

Crowthorne is the first town in Berkshire to join the network of communities to receive the award, which was given by the marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

The campaign to reduce the impact that plastic has on the environment was set up by local resident Georgie Morris, after she became frustrated by the amount of disposable plastics in her weekly shop.

Her call out on the Facebook Group We Love Crowthorne Village led to the group renaming themselves to CROW (Crowthorne Reduce Our Waste).

The Crowthorne group teamed up with SAS to come up with a plan to minimise the amount of disposable plastic waste in Crowthorne.

Georgie said: “Being part of the SAS scheme gave us a structure and the support to approach businesses, schools and the local parish councils with something achievable.

“I wasn’t expecting such a positive response, but I think the time was right and it was clear to many that there is an urgency to do something to try to stem the tide of plastic waste in our world.”

The aims of the campaign included setting up a community-led group, starting the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with businesses and community groups to reduce the amount of disposable plastics used.

Georgie added: “We worked with businesses to see what single-use plastics they could remove. To get a Plastic-Free Champion award each business must show that they’ve removed 3 pieces of single-use plastic and replaced them with a sustainable alternative.

“Handy DIY has recently set up as a refill centre allowing customers to bring their own bottles to refill with cleaning products and even shampoo, conditioner and body wash.”

Last year the team organised several community events including the Big Community Litter Pick, where 120 residents collected 124 bags of litter.

Rachel Yates, SAS plastic free communities project officer, said: “It’s great to see the work that Crowthorne has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.

“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 changes we need to see.”

For more information about the charity, visit: https://www.sas.org.uk/plastic-free-communities/.