Hitchin awarded 'Plastic Free Communities' status

Plastic Free Hitchin have secured 'Plastic Free Communities' status

Plastic Free Hitchin have secured 'Plastic Free Communities' status - Credit: Plastic Free Hitchin

Hitchin has earned the coveted 'Plastic Free status' from Surfers Against Sewage, in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic.

A dedicated group of campaigners began their campaign to change plastic use in the town in 2018, after Letchworth gained the status.

The team have worked with local business to help reduce the use of single-use plastic

The team have worked with local business to help reduce the use of single-use plastic - Credit: Plastic Free Hitchin

Although COVID slowed down their progress, the team continued to fight for a plastic-free town. 

Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, the team, along with community lead Anni Sander, pulled together key organisations and businesses in the town to put in place a five-point plan.

Cllr Val Bryant celebrating Hitchin's Plastic Free Status

Cllr Val Bryant celebrating Hitchin's Plastic Free Status - Credit: Plastic Free Hitchin

The objectives include setting up a community-led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.

“I am so proud of what our team has achieved. We have worked with over 50 businesses, organisations and groups around town to spread the word and empower people to ditch disposables and find more sustainable solutions.

"We’re part of the solution and it’s great to see how many people engage.”

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15 local businesses have signed up to the scheme and reduced their reliance on single-use plastic.

As part of the accreditation Plastic Free Hitchin also worked with schools, community groups and other local organisations.

Over 30 have signed up to be a Plastic Free Ally, among them the leisure centre, library and town hall. 

Plastic Free Hitchin has also run a vast number of events over the past years, like Hitchin Eco Day, the Real Nappy Social and Repair Cafe @ Hitchin Hackspace.

They support the bi-annual Big Litter Pick across town and have been present at local events such as the Street Food Monthly.

“For me the Plastic Free status is not about condemning and banning all plastics," Anni said.

"It’s about having lots and lots of conversations with people from as many different parts of our town as possible.

"Making them aware of our waste problem is just the first step in having conversations about nature, climate change and the journey we need to take to live more sustainably.”