With Autumn comes the launch of several of the UK’s main sports seasons … and as the nights draw in there’s also less temptation to skip team activities or exercise classes! Our teams, clubs and leisure centres are a hugely important hub for communities and as such form an important part of our Plastic Free Communities campaign.
From installing extra water refill points for exhausted Cross Fitters to setting up refill cup schemes for fans, we are seeing some fantastic action to reduce single-use. Just as important is the message this action sends to the wider community, and we see regularly how clubs and centres are joining their local Plastic Free teams as Community Allies to host events, help spread the word and support the bigger picture.
Here are some examples from around the UK to celebrate and inspire. Who knows, you could see something here to help you kickstart action where you live! Details of how to get involved are at the end of this article
Plastic Free Leamington & Warwick – Race Events
They’re a sporty, determined lot in Leamington and Warwick and in their first year the Plastic Free Communities team set their sights, not just in running the Leam Half Marathon, but also encouraging organisers to start reducing single-use plastic. Community Lead Jo Lally said at the time: “The agreement means the elimination of thousands of single use plastic items being used and gifted at the event. This is a massive win for our community and we hope it’ll pave the way for others”
That it did … this year the Regency Run in Leamington swapped plastic bottles for edible water capsules and Kenilworth Half Marathon swapped plastic bottles for compostable cups, which were taken away for the industrial composting they’re designed for … even the weekly Leam Park Run is on the case – click on ‘See more’ and check out their warning on Facebook!:
Plastic Free Cornwall – Rugby Refill Cups
Rugby Clubs across Cornwall are doing a great job of spreading the reduce and reuse message to fans through new refill schemes. The county’s only Championship Club, the Cornish Pirates, have pledged to ban single-use cups and swap to re-useable pints this season and throughout the county another eight league clubs, teamed with Sharps Brewery, are doing the same.
Sharp’s sponsor Camborne, Wadebridge, St Austell, Launceston, Bodmin, Penryn, Bude and Truro rugby clubs and says each is set to make cash savings as well as cut its plastic impact. Camborne alone estimates it will eliminate almost eight and a half thousand single-use pint cups a year!
Dai Griffiths, commercial director, said: “The Sharp’s team are always thrilled to sponsor Cornish rugby and support the environment, and this initiative is a simple yet effective way to do both. We’re delighted to be bringing fresh initiatives to clubs who will reduce waste and save money in the process”
Plastic Free Isle of Wight – Leisure Centres
Leisure centres are a key way for our Plastic Free Communities to reach people and kickstart habit change. From banning single-use plastic poolside overshoes to promoting refill, their action is encouraging users to rethink too. On the Isle of Wight all three Leisure Centres have held a plastic bottle amnesty, replaced plastic bags with reusable gym bags as part of membership, removed paper cups, hand out reusable water bottles, replaced paper towels with reusable cloth and removed plastic cutlery.
1Leisure manager Allan Bridges said the team were “really honoured” to be part of Plastic Free Communities and has pledged to “continue to source alternatives to single use plastics where possible and continue to raise awareness about this to our community.”
Community Lead Cordelia Dewey added: “1Leisure has done an amazing job continuing to educate and raise awareness to its customers about the importance of refusing single use plastic items at its sites and encouraging customers to get into the sustainable habit of reusing.”
Plastic Free Dorchester – Football Fantastic
The first football club in the UK to team up with Plastic Free Communities was Dorchester Town FC, … who have made a bold pledge that the whole ground will become a plastic-free zone. The club hold Community Days encouraging people to refuse single-use plastic by refilling and finding alternatives – even the pitch contains 50% recycled plastic bottles! And when you take into account the work the club does with youth teams and community outreach, you can see a clear example of how our sports teams can act as ambassadors and brilliant Community Allies as we start to free where we live from single-use.
Community Lead Edd Moore said: “Damers Eco Crew and I are very excited to be working with Dorchester Town Football Club in supporting them with reducing single-use plastic. They are also being fantastic role models for the youth teams across the community, encouraging children and adults to reduce single use plastic when they play sport as well as in the home and at school. We are so pleased the club is supporting our Plastic Free Dorchester Campaign.”
Plastic Free Liverpool – SUP Connection
Liverpool SUP Company is all about getting people connected to the water within a city and urban environment, so signing up to lead Plastic Free Communities was a natural step for founder Jayne Rigby. She is one of hundreds of sports enthusiasts and club owners across the UK who are taking their passion for their sport to help motivate their whole community to take action.
Jayne told us: “Seeing Liverpool on Stand Up Paddleboard is an awesome and unique experience. I chat to my clients about the importance of the ocean, why we need to protect it and what we can do in our lives to make the switch away from Single Use Plastics. I incorporate this into every session and the response to Liverpool SUPs plastic paddle events are amazing! They book up every time because people want to help and genuinely make a difference.”
“I feel that sports/outdoor clubs and organisations have a duty of care to protect the environment because we’re in it, we’re part of that ecosystem. By educating our clients, customers and communities, we’re creating a culture that’s moving away from the use of single use plastics, towards a more sustainable future.”
Feeling inspired? There are lots of ways you can take action on single-use plastic, as an individual, team, or club. You can even use your actions to go on and lead your own Plastic Free Community, like Jayne! We love seeing what everyone is doing, so please share your actions and tips with us on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, just hashtag #PlasticFreeCommunities
To find out more about Plastic Communities click here
Get your own Plastic Free Individual Action Plan click here