RINGWOOD has been recognised for its efforts to reduce waste.

The town has been awarded Plastic Free Communities Status by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Campaign group Ringwood Actions for Climate Emergency (RACE) has got 26 local businesses to sign up to the project - but needs more to help reduce waste.

“Each of the 26 businesses or organisations signed up has eliminated at least three items of single use plastic, and is working to eliminate others,” said Lindsay Andrews, who is leading on the project.

“But we have set ourselves a target of 50 businesses and organisations. If you, or anyone you know, would like to be part of this scheme please contact one of us through our Facebook Groups - Plastic Free Ringwood, or our main page, Ringwood Actions for Climate Emergency (RACE Against Time).

“The idea is to tackle the problem at its source. If we aren’t producing the plastic, we can find alternatives and reduce the problem.”

Ringwood joins a network of more than 700 communities across the UK who are leading the way to tackle throw-away plastic at source.

The London Tavern, Cycle Rescue, Nava Coffee, Timber, Paper Mountain and Arcade of Flowers are now Plastic Free Community Champions.

London Tavern landlady, Sarah Williams, said: “The real changes we made were recognising what really needed to be single use plastic – nothing. We were already doing takeaways in compostable boxes. Now we use recyclable straws and stirrers and no longer stock plastic bottles or cups for drinks.”

Ringwood Town Councillor Rae Fredrick, who is a member of the Plastic Free Ringwood Steering Group, said: “I’m delighted that Ringwood has achieved the Plastic Free Community award. It’s a good first step in addressing our concerns about environmental damage and reducing our reliance on fossil-fuel derived products, but there is still more we need to do.”

Visit: raceagainsttime.org.uk