In January 2019, a group of people from Glastonbury decided to join Surfers Against Sewage in achieving their Plastic Free status for Glastonbury.
The reasoning was simple: after numerous documentaries, photos and information arising about the state of plastic pollution worldwide, particularly in our oceans, it is difficult to know what one can personally do about the situation.
It starts with each of us making a change, and with encouraging others to do the same.
Plastic Free Community status was created by the group Surfers Against Sewage, who reason that ocean plastic is the new sewage. Depending on the size of the community, certain numbers of businesses and community groups need to commit to reducing their use of single use plastic by 3 items. For a town Glastonbury's size (about 9,000), that was 6 businesses. We've achieved 15 so far, and counting. Other criteria include the Town Council committing to go 'Plastic Free', which luckily they already did in 2017, and organising at least 2 events a year.
In February we organised a litter pick around the Red Brick Building, leading down to the River Brue, which was highly successful. 10 people collected 16 sacks of rubbish, much of which would probably have ended up in the sea eventually. Another one was held in July. In March we co-hosted with Glastonbury Friends of the Earth a film screening of A Plastic Ocean at the Town Hall, attracting more than 80 people, followed by a lively discussion.
Our biggest event came in July this year, which myself and Caraline have been working on since February! We collected lots of plastic rubbish that people would otherwise have thrown away, to create a gigantic Water Dragon! On July 7th we paraded the dragon down Glastonbury High Street, stopping at all the venues along the way where one can refill a water bottle, discouraging people from buying new plastic bottles.
As part of the dragon creation we held a creative afternoon for families to come and help make the flanks out of plastic bags, the hair out of bottle tops and crisp packets, and to make things to wave and make a noise during the parade. Getting the children involved was a wonderful way of reaching the community, and they enjoyed the day and the parade.
The aim was to raise awareness for Glastonburys' Refill Scheme, which had been set up the year before. We wanted to shout about the scheme, and our beautiful dragon, accompanied by Glastonbury's very own Dragon Drummers, certainly did the trick. On the day we had 5 more cafes sign up to the scheme, and we had an article printed on page 8 in Augusts' Mendip Times. The video below shows you how it all happened...