East Dulwich is the first place in London to become officially “plastic free” after campaigners, traders and schools came together to reject single-use plastic.
East Dulwich was awarded Plastic Free Community Status by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, whose plastic free movement aims to help save our ocean’s ecosystems and sea life from harmful, toxic plastic.
Much of the plastic that enters our water systems has been used only once, like disposable wrapping, cotton buds, plastic bags and straws.
Ric Baldock founded Plastic Free East Dulwich last year after seeing a call-out from Surfers Against Sewage for more people to set up plastic-free communities across the UK.
Since then he and a group of volunteers have got schools on board, been instrumental in getting Southwark Council support, and encouraging traders in the area and shoppers to phase out single-use plastic where possible.
“The response has been fantastic. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t want to engage and do something to help.
“People genuinely care when it comes to their local community, particularly in East Dulwich where community spirit and a sense of pride in the area is high.”
He added: “I’m so thrilled to get the status. It’s great to get the recognition for the hard work all the volunteers have put in but at the end of the day it doesn’t stop with that certification, getting the message out and changing behaviours is a never ending task.
“This is only the beginning and we will continue working to raise awareness around the avoidable single-use plastics that have become ingrained in our lives and help drive behaviour change to remove them wherever possible.”
Plastic Free East Dulwich in numbers
- 3,000 people engaged
- Eleven businesses have removed or replaced all single-use plastic
- 30 community groups have learned more
- Thirteen schools have had plastic free talks
- Nine community events to get the word out
…and Southwark Council has also committed all its offices will go entirely single-use plastic free