Falmouth community fire station in the South of Cornwall became the first in the UK to be officially 'Plastic Free' as part of the ongoing efforts of local community campaign group Plastic free Falmouth.
Plastic Free Falmouth are part of a larger network of Plastic free groups all working together on surfers against sewage's plastic free community campaign. Their communities are united in tackling single use plastic in their towns and villages, engaging with schools, businesses, councils and the general public to address this global issue on a local scale.
When watch manager Stuart Williams approached PFFs lead Kirstie Edwards last year in the Falmouth town council chambers, it became evident immediately that this could be something really special. KE said “I had just given a formal presentation in the chambers, requesting support for our campaign, which we unanimously received, when Stuart approached me with what he called 'a crazy idea to get all the firefighters a refillable bottle- could I help him?' I love a challenge and really felt Stuarts passion for his mission. We had to, of course work out how we would manage this and source the funding, what branding we wanted and were allowed, find a local company that could achieve Stuarts vision- its taken a while. '
“Stuart applied for a grant from Falmouth town council and also approached his own fire stations charity committee for support, both were granted. Then we had to apply to use the Cornwall fire and rescue service logo, which we are grateful to Cornwall council for allowing us to for this project. We then sourced a local company- Boosters in Redruth- who were kind enough to do us a fantastic deal. Then here we are today with the bottles in our hands which will be issued to every single member of the Falmouth crew as part of their kit, with the hopes this will catch on and be taken up across the county.”
Watch Manager Stuart Williams quoted “Following the storms of last year the station decided to assist in helping clear some of the local beaches of debris with other organisations, it became apparent that a lot of the debris on the beach consisted mainly of plastic, therefore as a station I would try to help our station become plastic free champions, by linking in with plastic free Falmouth and Falmouth town council, who have supported us in providing a grant so all staff at the Fire station could use an Aluminium reusable drinks bottle”.
Watch Manger John palmer quoted “Due to our roll it is important to stay well hydrated and these will assist us greatly without the need to use single use plastic water bottles and we are currently looking at innovative ways for the whole fire service to work towards becoming a plastic free organisation
To become a 'plastic free community ally' the service also had to remove at least 3 single use plastic items from the station and swap for sustainable alternatives. They started with plastic water bottles of which they got through thousands, instead they will now be using these new refillable fire bottles- then they swapped from plastic to paper cups for operational incidents. Now work has started on the kitchen, beginning with plastic cutlery swapped for traditional metal washable alternatives. This is just the start of their journey and Stuart has grand plans to completely rid the station of this unnecessary plastic and save the service some money at the same time. He'd also like to see fire appliances kitted out with large drinking water butts for refilling swiftly and easily at call outs- he plans to get this rolling as a trail in Falmouth as soon as possible.
Sarah Newton MP, who is also working with Ms Edwards on a new Plastic free Cornwall collaborative working group, uniting conservation groups, MPs and councillors across the county said “"I am very proud that Falmouth is leading the way being the first plastic free fire station in the country."
Mayor of Falmouth, Grenville Chapel said of the news:
‘The plastic free initiative has really taken off in Falmouth and this is great news to help alleviate this environmental problem. Falmouth Town Council fully supports Plastic Free Falmouth in their endeavours to continue the progress they are making with local businesses, organisations and the community.’