Fife Communities Climate Action Network’s March 2019 networking meeting was held at the Kernel Community workshop in the St Andrews Botanic Garden.
Over 25 people from various groups across Fife expressed their concern shown towards the levels of plastic pollution covering every part of the planet and discussed action. Many groups are organising beach cleans, litter picks and helping to deal with the waste in the environment. Crucially though, groups are now turning towards prevention of plastic waste through offering alternatives and campaigning for local action.
Sustainable Cupar ran a plastic straw replacement drive where they offered local businesses replacement biodegradable straws to replace plastic. The press received was used to highlight the issue and raise concern whist a number of businesses switched or ended offering straws without request completely.
The Plastic Free Anstruther team shared their successes of building up awareness through beach cleans and aligning themselves with the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free framework. This was followed by dialogue with local businesses in order to prompt them to offer plastic free alternatives.
In St Andrews a coalition of community groups (Community Council, StANDEN, Transition UStA) are working with the University and Fife Council on bottom up and top down actions. This includes education of new and existing residents of St Andrews, engaging business and running projects in local schools. Actions included beach / burn cleans (group and individual), town wide re-usable cup and establishment of a charter/award scheme for business whilst seeking to set up public water fountains. An ambitious target of eradicating single use-packaging was being sought after surveying business to understand the issues whilst supporting changes and encouraging suppliers to take back waste. The University already has a target to eliminate plastic by 2022.
A real struggle was felt to be with Fife Council Education department which continues to prioritise plastic within a lot of its school canteens despite much protest from kids, parents and within the council itself.
A short workshop identified areas where more collaboration across Fife could be beneficial including organising a Fife wide re-usable cup, plastic free status and rewards for businesses scheme and more engagement/ dialogue with Fife Council on the main sources of single use plastics including within Council facilities.
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