Plastic Free Awards launched to celebrate environmental heroes fighting plastic pollution

Marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage and the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) have confirmed plans to host a national awards ceremony celebrating the thousands of campaigners backing their fight against plastic pollution and production.

The new Plastic Free Awards are set to be held in November this year, to recognise the work of those who involved in the movement to free where we live from single-use plastic.

Entries are now open and can be made through the Plastic Free Awards website:

Activists from all walks of life will be acknowledged, including young campaigners, community leaders, small businesses, charities, designers, entrepreneurs, sports clubs and schools with a shared mission of eliminating avoidable plastics from our world.

Writer, broadcaster and Plastic Free Awards judge Lucy Siegle said:

“Communities and individuals continue to lead the charge on plastics, saying no to unnecessary use that commits us to 500 years of hazardous waste. Unfortunately for policy makers, it is clear that this energy and focus from people across the UK will not stop until the problem is solved.

“But the activists (and that’s what they are, even if some never expected to be!) from cafe owners and teachers to school kids and adventurers use their agency to think beyond the plastic pandemic. They’ve swept up progressive businesses and organisations with their enthusiasm, so we’ve decided to celebrate the very best. Credit where credit is due!”

Iceland Foods Managing Director, IFCF Trustee and Plastic Free Awards judge Richard Walker said:

“We are delighted to support these awards to highlight the great work that is being done by so many to tackle the scourge of single-use plastic, and I am very much look forward to judging the entries and helping to select some truly outstanding winners. You have got to be in it to win it, so I urge everyone to think of individuals and organisations who are going above and beyond in this fight, and enter them for these awards.”

Broadcaster and Plastic Free Awards judge Gillian Burke said:

“The tide is slowly turning in the fight against plastic pollution and now more than ever, we need to be  empowered to help kick our single-use plastic habit.  Celebrating the heroic efforts of campaigners, volunteers and communities who have stepped up to the challenge is one way to inspire us all into being the change we’d like to see.”

Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage and Awards judge said:

“We’re thrilled to launch the Plastic Free Awards to recognise the heroes leading the charge to reinvent our relationship with plastic, protect our ocean and drive sustainable innovation across communities. We have seen an inspirational wave of action to tackle plastic pollution and excessive packaging over the last two years – change is truly happening. The Plastic Free Awards will help shine a spotlight on the mavens and mavericks creating the changes to stop the flow of plastic into our world.”


Split across 11 categories and spanning various areas of plastic-free living and leadership, the awards are being hosted in partnership with the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF).

There will also be one additional overall winner selected to win the inaugural Sir Malcolm Walker Award for outstanding action on plastics pollution and environmental commitment.

Award categories include:

  • Best Plastic Campaign – The best campaign you’ve seen to raise awareness of and tackle plastic pollution (can include entries from NGOs, broadcasters, magazines, campaigners, CICs, marketing/PR companies and businesses)
  • Plastic-Free Hero – The person who has inspired the UK to tackle plastic pollution and change the way we view single-use plastics
  • Youth Plastic Pioneer – The under 16 who is taking radical action on plastic pollution and taking the nation by storm
  • Sports Champion – Award for the local sports club leading the charge on plastics – whether a community football club, surf life-saving club or a Premier League star that is changing attitudes towards single-use plastics in the sector
  • Plastic-Free Community – The strongest Plastic Free Community in the UK, most successful in uniting to reduce the use of plastic
  • Plastic Product Re-Innovation – Celebrating plastic-free innovation, whether as an inventor, business, entrepreneur, designer or big thinker
  • Reduce & Reuse Award– The best innovative new system helping us reduce our plastic footprint
  • Small Business Award – Refill stores, greengrocers, iron mongers, butchers, bakers – the business doing a brilliant job of freeing your high street from single-use plastics
  • Plastic-Free Venues & Events – Cafes, music venues, festivals and stadia are all getting involved with eliminating plastics, whether it’s a local deposit return schemes on cups to a straw-free festival
  • Schools Champion – The Plastic Free Schools movement is growing fast, but which school is passing this exam with flying colours? Nominate the school or student getting straight A’s on plastic action
  • Sir Malcom Walker Award – The overall winner and biggest influencer on plastics since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet

There are no barriers for who can be nominated – you can enter a friend, a colleague, a family member or someone from your community, as well any charities, schools, businesses or events that have made a significant impact on fighting plastic in your community. They don’t have to be directly involved in the Plastic Free Communities initiative but must have made a significant impact on fighting plastic.

Each entrant will then be judged by a panel of esteemed judges and those nominated invited to attend the awards event in November this year.

Entries are now open and can be made through the Plastic Free Awards website,


For more information about the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation and the many good causes it has supported over the years, please go to

Article written on behalf of SAS by Hazel Murray