Initiative aims to make St Andrews single-use plastic free town

editorial image

Businesses in St Andrews are being encouraged to ditch single-use plastics as part of a new initiative.

Daphne Biliouri-Grant has taken the lead role in business engagement on the new project, which is being led by the St Andrews Environmental Network, in partnership with the Environmental Office of the University of St Andrews and Transition UStA.

Her aim is to cut the amount of businesses in the town using single-use plastics, engaging with stakeholders to help change behaviours.

It is estimated at the moment that around 43 per cent of local businesses have or are in the process of moving away from single-use plastics.

Daphne wants this figure to be at 60 per cent by the time her 12-month project has come to an end.

Earlier this year, around 122 food and drink establishments in St Andrews were surveyed about the issue, asked what they are doing about single-use plastic and if they are interested in taking action.

Of the 72 per cent which responded, half indicated they are already changing their practices.

Daphne explained the reasons some businesses were not making the change.

“The big thing is cost,” Daphne explained. “A lot of people are worried, especially independent shops. We want to educate and help them. We can guide them to identify funding.

“What we’ve seen in other areas is that there might be an initial shock with their cliental base, and then most of them will actually support it.

“The public is becoming more aware about plastics. It’s important that we change the attitude of the businesses.”

Daphne has now started a dialogue with the businesses that showed an interest in cutting out single-use plastic, providing them with helpful information.

She is also working to create an awards scheme that would reward those who progress with the initiative.

Single-use plastics are items used only once before being binned or recycled – these include everyday items like straws, bags and food packaging.

It is estimated that around 180 million tonnes of disposable plastic is produced every year – and less than 10 per cent of this is recycled.

Jane Kell, manager of the St Andrews Environmental Network, explained how big an issue single-use plastic is to the town.

“The current campaign was a development of an anti-litter strategy we put in place over two years ago,” she said.

“We know first hand from the work our clean and green team carry out that there is a real problem with single use plastic in St Andrews.

“Much of this litter eventually works its way to our beaches and we need to act now.

“We are hoping that by working as one – St Andrews businesses, residents, and the University – towards a shared goal, we will eliminate single use plastic from St Andrews.”

The official launch of the ‘Towards a Plastic Free St Andrews’ initiative will be held on June 29 between 10am-6pm at the Fife Council building on St Mary’s Place.

For more information about the project, visit the St Andrews Environmental Network website.