Porthcurno Awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status

Plastic fish and net on Porthcurno beach. Photo by Maeve Cushla

Porthcurno Awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status as it Takes Action on Single-Use Plastic.

Porthcurno is leading the way nationally as part of a network of communities across the UK who are taking on the challenge to tackle throw away plastic at source. The village has been awarded ‘Plastic Free Community’ status by marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in recognition of the work it has done to start reducing the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.

PK Porthcurno, Museum of Global Communications via their environmental programme ‘Planet PK’ Local started the campaign in early 2021 to tackle an increasing wave of beach litter and marine plastics in Porthcurno, which is one of Cornwall’s most popular visitor destinations.

Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, PK Porthcurno pulled together key organisations and businesses in the village to put in place a five-point plan. 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.

Porthcurno’s Plastic Free

Porthcurno’s Plastic Free Steering Group was made up of representatives from PK Porthcurno, Minack Theatre, Porthcurno Beach Café, Atlantic Adventures, St Levan Parish Council, Cornwall AONB, National Trust and Porthcurno Residents Association.

PK Porthcurno, Minack Theatre and Porthcurno Beach Café have also all removed single-use plastics from their operations to become official ‘Plastic Free Business Champions’ approved by SAS.

Over the last year PK Porthcurno’s Planet PK team have organised several community beach cleans including taking part in SAS’s national Million Mile Clean campaign as well as collaborative events with Cornwall AONB and National Trust.

Beach Cleans

Beach cleans have created a great opportunity people to play their part in the plastic-free journey whilst role modelling best practice but what is needed, particularly in locations such as Porthcurno is a vastly increased environmental awareness overall, and behavioural change amongst visitors so that items that are hazardous for both people and nature are not left behind. This will be an ongoing journey for the Porthcurno Plastic Free Steering Group, with continued support for the SAS team.

Tiffany Coates, Porthcurno Residents Association says,

The community has risen to the challenge in this tremendous initiative which has seen groups of people in all weathers combing the beaches to remove plastic and other litter, raising awareness about the issue. It’s been uniting locals and holidaymakers alike as everyone joins in to help, grabbing an SAS bag and filling it with litter. A great feeling of cooperation and making a difference.

Emma Browning, Partnership Manager at Cornwall AONB says,

“The Porthcurno community have successfully demonstrated how to tackle a global challenge at a local scale and really make a difference.  The community of businesses, residents, visitors and organisations have collectively raised awareness of environmental issues and instigated behavioural change. Cornwall AONB is proud to have and will continue to support this fantastic initiative, we also hope to support other communities around the AONB achieve similar goals in the future”

Porthcurno community beach clean

The Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Community network aims to free the places where we live from single-use. Using the five point plan the aim is to empower communities to kick start local grassroots action, which can then be built upon. 

The marine conservation charity, based in St Agnes in Cornwall, says it wants to unite communities to tackle avoidable plastic from the beach all the way back to the brands and businesses who create it. It says it is not about removing all plastic from our lives but kicking our addiction to throwaway plastic and changing the system that produces it.

Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Manager, says:

“It’s great to see the work that Porthcurno has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.

“We have over six hundred communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment. 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 and system changes we need to see.”

Take Part and Keep Porthcurno Plastic Free

The next community beach clean at Porthcurno takes place on Wednesday 2nd March 9am – 10am and is part of the SAS Million Mile Clean campaign for 2022. Follow PK Porthcurno and Planet PK on social media for further details.

For more information about the campaign and Plastic Free communities visit ;

PK Porthcurno: www.pkporthcurno.com

Plastic Free Communities: www.plasticfree.org.uk

Surfers Against Sewage: www.sas.org.uk

Porthcurno Surfers Against Sewage Approved Plastic Free Community
Porthcurno Surfers Against Sewage Approved Plastic Free Community

Plastic Free Communities

Plastic Free Communities is an ambitious community initiative designed to unite and empower individuals, small businesses, local government and community groups to reduce their collective plastic footprint and protect the environment together. Driven by inspirational local volunteers, we are building a new and exciting community movement tackling single-use plastics and plastic litter in our villages, towns, cities and rural locations.   This highly inclusive initiative, created for all ages and backgrounds, is designed to get the whole community active and do something positive to reduce the amount of plastic in the local environment. We believe that united communities lead to cleaner beaches, streets, parks and riverbanks.

If you are travelling to West Cornwall Porthcurno Beach is well worth a visit.

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