There's lots of discussion about reducing plastic straws and replacing them with paper alternatives, but is this enough?
TL are exploring the idea of making a bigger impact. Reducing or eliminating the need for single use plastic all across the town and reducing our demand for multi-use plastics too.
Here's some initial resources we are exploring:
Tools for conducting a plastic waste audit and developing an action plan:
Plastic Free Coastlines Community Toolkit: Surfers Against Sewage have recently published this toolkit for communities that are looking to reduce their plastic usage. It's primarily aimed at Coastal Communities (as the name would suggest) but it looks generic enough that it could provide a template for a town such as Linlithgow to develop an Action Plan as well, if there were interest in doing so. It's part of a wider initiative that they're running, that whereby they're looking for 125 communities to work towards 'Plastic free' status (see here for more info about it). Penzance were the first one to be awarded 'Plastic Free Coastline' status (see here for more details about the Penzance example and also here).
Mobile Apps - There might be an App that members of the public in Linlithgow could use to help to gather data about plastic pollution in the town. Thought it might be a way of engaging a wider range of participants and gathering data over a longer time period (say a couple of weeks or a month, rather than just from a one off data collection event/litter pick)? e.g. commuters could gather data on their way to/from the station, shoppers could add items they spotted on the High Street, people could add data from their walks around the Loch etc. Would something like that be useful? From my searching to-date, Two that look quite interesting:
The European Environment Agency has a Marine LitterWatch App - Individuals can enter the data and then you can download it all for particular geographical areas for analysis. As far as I can tell, however, it only seems to apply to Beach locations.
Other ideas for supporting the reduction of plastic waste within Linlithgow:
Promoting the Plastic Free July Campaign: Perhaps the 2018 Plastic Free July (PFJ) Campaign might provide a helpful focus for encouraging individuals and businesses in Linlithgow to get involved in reviewing and reducing their own plastic use? There are also some useful resources on their website and on the My Plastic Free Life website with helpful ideas for individuals looking to reduce their plastic usage.
Sharing information about plastic free alternatives available locally: Identifying suitable alternatives that are available locally. Some businesses/initiatives (e.g. Complete Health at the Millstone, Grow Wild Organics, local Facebook Buy & Sell pages) are already offering a number of great options for reducing plastic waste so capturing this info and promoting it locally might be helpful both for individuals that are seeking to reduce their plastic use and for giving publicity to local businesses.
The Last Straw Community Toolkit: There's been quite a bit of chat recently on the Linlithgow Facebook page about the possibility of local bars/cafes reducing their use of plastic straws. The Last Straw website has some helpful resources for engaging businesses in such an initiative.
The Refill Campaign: The Refill Campaign has just been launched nationally (initially it was focused on the Bristol area) and aims to encourage businesses to allow passers by to fill up their reusable water bottle for free. None are currently listed on the App for Linlithgow though - Could be another one worth promoting to local businesses?