BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 21 June '19

New awards to celebrate environmental heroes fighting plastic pollution

Marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) have confirmed plans to host a national awards ceremony celebrating the thousands of campaigners backing the fight against plastic pollution and production.

‘We’re thrilled to launch the Plastic Free Awards to recognise the heroes leading the charge to reinvent our relationship with plastic, protect our ocean and drive sustainable innovation across communities. We have seen an inspirational wave of action to tackle plastic pollution and excessive packaging over the last two years – change is truly happening. The Plastic Free Awards will help shine a spotlight on the mavens and mavericks creating the changes to stop the flow of plastic into our world.’

HUGO TAGHOLM
CEO of SAS

The new Plastic Free Awards are set to be held in November this year, to recognise the work of those involved in the movement to free where we live from single-use plastic.

Activists from all walks of life will be acknowledged, including young campaigners, community leaders, small businesses, charities, designers, entrepreneurs, sports clubs and schools with a shared mission of eliminating avoidable plastics from our world.

‘Communities and individuals continue to lead the charge on plastics, saying no to unnecessary use that commits us to 500 years of hazardous waste. Unfortunately for policy makers, it is clear that this energy and focus from people across the UK will not stop until the problem is solved.

‘But the activists (and that’s what they are, even if some never expected to be!) from café owners and teachers to school kids and adventurers use their agency to think beyond the plastic pandemic. They’ve swept up progressive businesses and organisations with their enthusiasm, so we’ve decided to celebrate the very best. Credit where credit is due!’

LUCY SIEGLE
Writer, broadcaster and Plastic Free Awards judge

Split across 11 categories and spanning various areas of plastic-free living and leadership, the awards are being hosted by Surfers Against Sewage in partnership with the IFCF.

There will also be one additional overall winner selected to win the inaugural Sir Malcolm Walker Award for outstanding action on plastics pollution and environmental commitment.

Award categories

Award categories include:

BEST PLASTIC CAMPAIGN
The best campaign you’ve seen to raise awareness of and tackle plastic pollution (can include entries from NGOs, broadcasters, magazines, campaigners, CICs, marketing/PR companies and businesses)

PLASTIC-FREE HERO
The person who has inspired the UK to tackle plastic pollution and change the way we view single-use plastics

YOUTH PLASTIC PIONEER
The under-16 who is taking radical action on plastic pollution and taking the nation by storm

SPORTS CHAMPION
Award for the local sports club leading the charge on plastics – whether a community football club, surf life-saving club or a Premier League star that is changing attitudes towards single-use plastics in the sector

PLASTIC-FREE COMMUNITY
The strongest Plastic Free Community in the UK, most successful in uniting to reduce the use of plastic

PLASTIC PRODUCT RE-INNOVATION
Celebrating plastic-free innovation, whether as an inventor, business, entrepreneur, designer or big thinker

REDUCE & REUSE AWARD
The best innovative new system helping us reduce our plastic footprint

SMALL BUSINESS AWARD
Refill stores, greengrocers, iron mongers, butchers, bakers – the business doing a brilliant job of freeing your high street from single-use plastics

PLASTIC-FREE VENUES AND EVENTS
Cafés, music venues, festivals and stadia are all getting involved with eliminating plastics, whether it’s a local deposit return schemes on cups to a straw-free festival

SCHOOLS CHAMPION
The Plastic Free Schools movement is growing fast, but which school is passing this exam with flying colours? Nominate the school or student getting straight A’s on plastic action

SIR MALCOLM WALKER AWARD
The overall winner and biggest influencer on plastics since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet

Entries and nominations

There are no barriers for who can be nominated – you can enter a friend, a colleague, a family member or someone from your community, as well any charities, schools, businesses or events that have made a significant impact on fighting plastic in your community.

Nominees don’t have to be directly involved in the Plastic Free Communities initiative but must have made a significant impact on fighting plastic.

Each entrant will then be judged by a panel of esteemed judges and those nominated invited to attend the awards event in November this year.

‘We are delighted to support these awards to highlight the great work that is being done by so many to tackle the scourge of single-use plastic, and I am very much looking forward to judging the entries and helping to select some truly outstanding winners. You have got to be in it to win it, so I urge everyone to think of individuals and organisations who are going above and beyond in this fight, and enter them for these awards.’

RICHARD WALKER
Iceland Foods managing director, IFCF trustee and Plastic Free Awards judge