Plastic Free Royston

Single use plastics

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Single-use plastic is of increasing concern to us all. Plastic in our seas leads to animals ingesting it, which can cause malnourishment and death. It is also ugly.

Part of a larger initiative

For our initial project to improve the environment of Royston and beyond, we have joined a national initiative from Surfers Against Sewage to raise awareness of the amount of single-use plastic in our lives and environments. The scheme aims to reduce single-use plastic by replacing with reusable alternatives or avoiding altogether.

Transition Town Letchworth recently followed the scheme,which resulted in their certification as a Plastic-Free town Many towns across the country are signing up as public understanding of the issues increases.

This doesn’t mean the entire town must be plastic free but there are relatively easy targets for businesses, schools and community groups, and the local council to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.

If every local business or group were to give up just one piece of single use plastic this would make Royston and the world a better place!

For more information click this logo.


Helping Royston towards plastic free status

We are keen that in Royston we do all we can to help reduce the plastic problem and would love to see Royston achieve the ‘plastic free’ status offered by SAS. This does not mean 100% plastic free - which would not be possible anytime soon - but we can make big reductions in the amount that we consume. Letchworth and many other towns nationwide and often much larger than ours, have already achieved Plastic Free status and we hope to make Royston a Plastic Free community by the end of 2021.

Please can you take a few moments to answer this questionnaire and share with us your opinions and ideas on how we can reduce the use of plastics locally?

Royston Town Council

The Royston Environmental Group is delighted to have received an endorsement from the Town Council following the unanimous vote to support our Plastic Free Royston initiative.

Councillor Carol Stanier explained that although the Town Council already avoided the use of single-use plastic, committing to support the initiative would send a strong signal to town’s businesses and residents, allowing the eventual certification of the town as a Plastic Free Community under the Surfers Against Sewage scheme.

Calling All Plastic Free Community Allies

The Plastic Free scheme is run locally by Royston Environmental Group and accredited by Surfers Against Sewage. Letchworth was the first Hertfordshire town to be accredited Plastic Free in 2019.

Other North Hertfordshire towns including Baldock, Buntingford and Hitchin are also working towards this status. In Royston we now have SIX Business Plastic Free Champions certified and have hand delivered their plaques to them all - HOORAY!

We are now looking for Community Allies which could be community groups such as: Scouts and Guides troops, schools, venues, churches and non-profit organisations including places of interest and local publications. Please do get in touch with us if you are interested in signing up. Don’t panic, it's not at all complicated and we can talk you through it.

The Town Council have also agreed to support this initiative. In order to maintain Plastic Free status we need to hold two events per year and we are currently on track for this with our regular litter picks and Sustain-Ability festival plus various community-based projects such as the Tesco Community Garden and tree planting.

Quite simply all Allies and Champions need to do is agree to remove THREE items of single use plastic from everyday use (retrospectively does count, so if you have already started the process that’s absolutely fine) and the Community Allies also need to agree to support the Royston Environmental Group and show that they are continuing to do that. Some evidence is required to send to Surfers Against Sewage.
We are very close to being accredited Plastic Free Town now and just need our Community Allies to step up and join in. Together we can do this!

Further information on what Plastic Free Allies and Champions need to do to qualify are here:

 Becoming a Community Ally

If you are interested in becoming a Plastics Free Community Ally or would just like to know more about the scheme please complete the Questionnaire using this link

Answer Online Questionnaire

Community Allies who have signed up

A growing number of community based groups and orgainisations have signed up to become an Ally or have expressed an interest in doing so. Here are those who have signed up so far -

  • Coombes Community Centre

  • Royston Leisure Centre

  • Tentshare

  • Royston Library

Royston businesses awarded Plastic Free status


The Royston Environmental Group is pleased to announce that we have been able to award Plastic Free Status to some of our local businesses.

To achieve this, each business was asked to nominate a number of everyday items they normally use which would no longer be plastic based. The list from each business was then submitted to the PlasticFree campaign for certification

Plastic Free Champions

We would love to see your local business achieving this status and getting your own award. You can nominate your business by completing the questionnaire and start your journey to Plastic Free Status today.

Plastic Free Champion Business Awards

Businesses in and around Royston have made a commitment to reduce or eliminate their reliance on single use plastics.

Among the first to receive their award certificates and plaques which let everyone know they are Plastic Free Champions were -

Looksmart Ltd
in Lumen Road
Horsebox Coffee Shop in Priory Gardens
Kooky Nohmad in the High Street
Hush Skin and Beauty Kneesworth Street
Coconuts4U at “Homemade at the Barn"
Heart to Earth Kneesworth Street
Anahata at “Homemade at the Barn”



A professional alternative to traditional dry cleaning. Environmentally friendly and uses biodegradable detergent.

Visit their website

Horsebox Coffee Shop

Vintage Horsebox coffee shop with a stunning lever espresso machine available to hire for weddings, parties and all other events.

Follow on Facebook


A flexible space designed to bring people together, whether it’s for a coffee catch up, brunch or a day at the “office”.

Visit their website

Skin & Beauty

Hush Skin and Beauty is a boutique salon located in one of Royston's oldest areas. We are dedicated to delivering the finest beauty therapies.

Visit their website


Kirsty's outlet at Home Made at the Barn sells products that aim to use upcycled materials such as coconut shells.

Eliminating single-use plastics

Royston Environmental Group is keen to see Royston emiminate the avoidable use of single-use plastics. We know that this is not an easy thing to achieve, but every journey starts with the first step.

What can I do ?

Every one of us can help make a difference. Some things are small and easy to achieve, others may need a larger commitment.

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 Refill shops

An excellent way of reducing plastics in the environment is by refilling containers you already have. While still small in number, there are a growing number of outlets where you can do this.

The type of goods which can be bought through these is growing all the time, from food to toiletries and household cleaning products.

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 Face coverings

There are some important reasons why some articles have to be disposable as we deal with the dangers posed by Covid-19. However, it is estimated that globally 194 billion dispoasable face covering and gloves are used and disposed of each month.

Medical grade face covering used by emergency service staff and other key workers are an example. But many face coverings are not made to this standard and are being discarded in large numbers on our streets. Making or buying resuable fabric face coverings is a viable alternative to these lower grade, single use masks.

You can find guidance on making your own face coverings on the government’s web site.

Making a face covering
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 Plastic drinks bottles and cups

t’s easy to pick up bottles of water in the shops. They make carrying it around easy and can simply be thrown away when empty.

And that’s the problem! Even though they are recyclable, their portability can make that less easy to do, especially if there are no obvious recycling bins where you’re going.

Reusable bottles now come in all shapes and sizes and are commonly available in the high street.

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 Disposable coffee cups

Nearly everyone likes a good cup of coffee. The variety available is quite astonishing. Many high street coffee shops will serve your favourite hot drink in disposable cups.

Most of these contain an element of plastic, simply to contain the liquid, and most get thrown away after they’ve been used.

Reusable, insulated cups and mugs are now a good alternative, especially if they are sealable to keep hot drinks hot and safe to carry around.

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Plastic food wraps

Many national food retailers supply food in plastic wrapping. Some are attempting to reduce this but it is simply too convenient for them.

Most local food outlets, such as markets, supply goods as you request them rather than pre-packed. Where they do use packaging it is also more likely to be environmentally friendly.

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Cosmetic products

There are some things which we all need, in the words of one famous series of adverts, for our “important little places”. Many, such as cotton buds, have become less dependednt on plastic in their manufacture.

Look for suppliers of those things which you just can’t live without to see if there are any making them without using plastics.

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 Reusable carrier bags

It is true that charging for plastic carrier bags at larger retail outlets has significantly reduced their use.

But there are still too many in circulation. And although bio-degradable plastic bags breakdown more quickly, they are still plastic.

You can help reduce their numbers further by taking your own bags with you when you go shopping. Canvas or cotton bags are a good reusable, washable alternative.


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Plastic Free Royston aims to transition the town to a single-use plastic free environment as soon as possible.

But in the meantime, what can you do to recycle plastics whose use is unavoidable? Many plastic containers have a symbol which may help you decide whether an item can easily be recycled. Here’s a quick guide.

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Used in

Fiood and drink packaging

Recycled at

Kerbside collection

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Used in

Food and drink packaging

Recycled at

Kerbside collection

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Used in

Plastic carrier bags

Recycled at

Some major retail outlets


Recycling the non-recyclable


TerraCycle have bins in Royston which can accept items which are more difficult to recycle.

Find out about TerraCycle

Christmas trees

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Should I get a real or a plastic tree?

About now many of us are thinking about decorating the house in the run up to Christmas and one of the biggest focal points will be the tree. But what should you buy if you’re looking for a new one this year. Should it be a real tree or an artificial one?

The short answer has to be - Buy a real one!

Here are some reasons why -

  • Producing artificial trees adds pollutants to the air.

  • Shipping them, mostly from China, adds significantly to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

  • The materials many atrificial trees are made from are not recyclable and they end up in landfill.

  • Buying a real tree helps support forestry as only about 15% of trees grown are cut down each year. This means that most tress produced continue to trap carbon dioxide while they remain in the ground.

  • Real trees can continue to help with conservation projects once the festive season comes to an end.

If you’d like more information follow this link to the Soil Association’s website