Giving Back: litter free Felixstowe
Organisations are always looking at new ways to demonstrate to staff a positive culture beyond profit-generation.
Litter-picking ticks so many boxes as it is great for the community and the health and well-being of those that get involved.
In Suffolk, we have 162 miles of coastline and our relationship with the sea is obvious especially when you consider we have the UK’s largest and busiest container port on our doorstep and numerous businesses who rely on seaside tourism. The dramatic television footage of the impact of plastics in the ocean has awakened us all to the need to act. For many months, beach cleaning has been the new weekend leisure activity for many people, and now it is important that companies add their support.
A group of Felixstowe residents supported by local businesses have set up ‘Plastic-Free Felixstowe’ (PFF) with the aim of reducing the use of plastic across the town. In the past six months, over 1,200 people have joined the group, which now has Community Interest Company status and was a finalist in the Groundworks Community Awards 2018. PFF has worked to eliminate single-use plastic, promote recycling and publicise the damage plastics cause to marine life.
The group is now keen to take further positive action and are launching an ambitious plan called ‘Litter-Free Felixstowe’ (LFF). Debbie Bartlett, Director of PFF explains: “We have been delighted with the success of PFF but as any rubbish can blow into the sea, we’re now planning to extend the campaign and we want to clear all litter from the whole town”.
“We will be including public spaces, beaches and parks and we want Felixstowe to be the UK’s first litter-free town. To achieve this, we need lots of volunteers and we hope that the entire port community, together with haulage companies and businesses across Suffolk will add their weight to ‘Litter-Free Felixstowe’ and extend the campaign to other towns.” As well as looking at their use of plastics, eliminating single-use and recycling effectively, the campaign group wants to encourage all businesses, whether large or small, to pledge at least one day per year to allow their staff to take part in a litter-pick.
The local council has welcomed both the plastic-free and litter-free initiatives and see it as a great example of how residents and companies can work together to take positive action in the community. The next step is to get sponsorship to ensure enough litter-picking equipment is available to any group wanting to get involved, whether a company, school, charity or an organisation like the Scouts or the WI.
A website (www.plastic-free-felixstowe.co.uk) and Facebook page (Litter-free Felixstowe) provide information on dates for litter-picks. There are also plans to launch an official ‘Litter-Free’ day in the Spring when everyone, across the town, will come together in advance of the new holiday season. The aim is to put Felixstowe on the map – taking the lead in the fight against litter and plastic waste.
Debbie Bartlett is Director of Plastic-Free Felixstowe. Any companies wanting to sponsor activities or pledge support should get in touch via Facebook: ‘Litter-free Felixstowe’ or the website: www.plastic-free-felixstowe.co.uk