Welcome to the Plastic Free St Albans website! We are an alliance of local people concerned about our impact on the environment, who are working together to reduce the usage of single use plastics in St Albans. We grew from the St Albans and Harpenden Refuse the Straw campaigns, Sustainable St Albans, and St Albans Friends of the Earth. We want to promote conscious choices around the usage of plastic, and to involve local people and businesses in actions to make St Albans plastic free.

Why is single use plastic a bad idea?

“Single use” plastics, are usually used just once, often for less than an hour, and are then discarded, where they persist in the environment for hundreds of years. Because this is often outside of the home, they are much less likely to be recycled, and are causing huge environmental issues, both on land and in our oceans. For each, there are widely available, sustainable alternatives.

What are we doing about it?

Our main goal is to work with local businesses, schools, and other organisations to remove, as far as possible, the following items from St Albans. We have chosen these particular items because they are so rarely recycled, and so form such a large part of our plastic waste and litter.

  • Plastic straws and stirrers – we want to continue to build on the work on the work already done by the St Albans and Harpenden Refuse the Straw projects, encouraging customers to politely decline plastic straws, and for local businesses to provide an eco friendly alternative when required.
  • Plastic water bottles – globally, a million plastic water bottles are bought every minute. In a country with such great quality tap water, there are very few excuses for using bottled water.
  • Balloons – these are not usually made of plastic, but are another single use product which is particularly damaging to the environment. The growing trend of balloon releases sends large amounts of litter off into the sky, much of it reaching our countryside and beaches where it can harm animals. Balloons blow!

We’re not stopping there though! We will be working on other projects too, and will update this site as they develop. Two that we have recently started are as follows:

  • Refill – we are partnering with Affinity Water, St Albans City & District Council, and St Albans BID to promote the St Albans Refill scheme, which asks businesses to provide free water bottle refills to anyone who asks, free of charge
  • St Albans Eco Coffee Map – St Albans loves its coffee shops! We want to discourage the use of conventional takeaway cups, which are lined with plastic, making them difficult to recycle.  We are maintaining a map of which coffee shops are going greener.

As part of our plastic free journey, we hope to gain Plastic Free Community status from environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage. You can find out more about them here.

How Can You Help?

There are lots of ways in which you, as a resident or visitor to St Albans, can help. Check out our “How Can You Help?” page for ideas.

To find out more about us, take a look at our partners page to see who we are working with to achieve our vision, and check out our blog for the latest news, including a monthly roundup of the positive changes we’re seeing.

*Many thanks to the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban for granting permission for the use of the photo of our beautiful Abbey, taken during Earth Hour 2013