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Pete Lawrence - 20 Feb 2018


"When the revolution comes, it will start here, a small historic market town deep in wildest Somerset. Frome’s got form" The Guardian

My new home town Frome is trailblazing solutions in the battle against plastic waste in the UK and is rallying local residents to gather up plastic and packaging material to return to local supermarkets on Saturday April 7th. Campfire Convention will support and follow up these actions at its inaugural Frome Beacon meeting on Wednesday March 21st and ask whether it can start to pool information and fill a communications role as a networking platform where the discussion can continue.

Frome Town Council hosted a community event at a packed town hall to explore ways to reduce plastic waste in the town tonight. The meeting provided a space for people to share ideas – from working with local businesses to lobbying supermarkets to a zero waste shop.

In December, Frome Town Council unanimously agreed to become a ‘single-use’ plastic-free council. This will be done by phasing out the use of unrecyclable single-use plastic products in all council activities by April 2018. The Council will also encourage facility users and local organisations to do the same by promoting alternatives. Already several cafes in the town including: Moo and Two, Garden Cafe and the River House have agreed to phase out plastic straws, to reduce straws used and to replace plastic straws with either biodegradable or paper ones. 

Frome also has a community fridge, where you can leave or collect surplus food, and a library of things, where you can borrow DIY stuff and household goods, including toys.


Councillor Richard Ackroyd said ‘The BBC’s Blue Planet showed us recently how much plastic is getting into our seas and this is causing havoc to marine life. Frome Town Council has committed to going single-use plastic free by April and we’re keen to work with businesses, schools and the local community to cut plastic waste throughout the town.’

Tonight’s meeting also examined the issues from various angles - how to be more sustainable at home - mentioned were silicon gel covers for food, using non-disposable razor blades, brushes for shaving, soap bars instead of plastic containers, shampoo bars, crystal bar deodorants, cotton wool on a roll, bamboo toothbrushes, paper instead of plastic bin liners, bio degradable bags, refilling wherever possible, using glass containers and jam jars, more durable plastics, not using straws and looking at Christmas and birthday present habits.

BBC Points West recently came to the Town Hall to speak with Mayor Sheila Gore and Anna Francis, the Town Council’s Resilience Manager. Anna said "There are lots of ideas on how we can reduce plastic throughout the town and we also held a plastic-free meeting with local cafes and restaurants on the to enable bulk buying of alternatives such as paper straws and eco coffee cups."

The UK uses 38million plastic bottles every day, most of which don’t end up getting recycled. There is a huge movement away from disposable plastic, and there’s lots we can all do to reduce plastic waste in Frome.’

The myth that zero waste campaigning is a luxury for middle classes is debunked in 

"I’ve already written about the lifestyle changes that make the most difference: eat less meat, waste less food, buy less stuff, drive less, fly less, and decarbonise your home energy supply. None of these involve spending more – the opposite, in fact. Planetary destruction is expensive: eating lots of meat, frequent flying, buying, furnishing, and heating large homes……….hardly cheap. Treading more lightly on the earth goes hand in hand with saving money.  It seems to me that, if any current social trends are going to save the planet, it will be the shifts towards veganism and more simple, frugal living that do it, rather than the jetset-around-the-world-with-a-reusable-bottle lifestyles."

Other actions you can do as an individual include:

  • Remember your refillable water bottle (
  • Refuse single-use packaging
  • Resist a straw or a buy a re-usable one
  • Take a reusable coffee cup and refuse single-use take away cups
  • Refuse a single-use plastic bag and take your own
  • Take your own cutlery or use sustainable alternatives
  • Avoid single-use plastics in the bathroom
  • Refuse single-use condiment sachets
  • If you visit a beach grab a handful of plastic pollution and recycle or dispose of it

More ideas at:

Campfire's Bournemouth Beacon featured a talk by an RNLI representative at their recent February meeting. @Kimm Fearnley commented "At the second meeting on February a member of the RNLI came along to discuss the charity's important work tackling ocean clean ups and education on the issue of plastics."  The Beacon's March 10th event starts with a beach clean.

Enjoy the challenge of going zero. It feels good to be liberated from cycle of buying, hoarding, and disposing of crap. Now, what are you going to do with all that extra time and money?





Kate Edgley

Really inspiring stuff Pete. Sounds like a great place to live x


Carol Alevroyianni

My mum reads the small print on every piece of packaging and returns all as yet unrecyclable plastic to the shop it was bought in - neatly rolled bread wrappers and the like - she’s been recycling all her life ( she’s 87) but says she is sad that the plastic packaging is increasing not reducing. I like the idea of refusing the packaging - going to give it a try .. it may have the added bonus of weight management as the worst dietary ingredients are also the most heavily packaged ... maybe we could share news of places to buy loose fresh food as well as dry.

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